On a long passage water may be one of your scarcest commodities. Saving water is important even if you have a watermaker, and essential if you don’t. Here are some things that help us to use our water sensibly:
- Use foot pumps (not pressure-water systems) so you don’t waste what you have.
- Add a raw-water foot pump to your galley if you don’t already have one.
- Use saltwater to wash dishes. Joy or our favorite – Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day – suds up very nicely in salt water. You may want to rinse your flatware in fresh every few days to avoid salt-pitting.
- Use an Aquabot sprayer to rinse – thanks to TheBoatGalley for this tip – I love mine.
- Use saltwater to cook in. So as not to overdo the salt use:
- 1/2 sea water, 1/2 fresh water for steaming vegetables etc
- 1/4 sea water or less to 3/4 fresh for adding directly to soups, etc
- Use saltwater to scrub up the stove, sink etc, but rinse with a cloth dampened with fresh water.
- Save shower water: “shower” with a damp washcloth – what we call the backpacking shower. It can be very refreshing to at least address the “problem areas” with a damp cloth.
- Really have to wash your hair? Use a flexible bucket to wash your hair or clothes or dishes. It allows you to use the minimum amount of water because you can stick your head in and mold the bucket around your head to rinse – the water doesn’t get stuck in the corners.
- Don’t bring cotton clothes or sheets or towels! Instead use Microfiber towels, fleece outwear and pants, fleece or poly blankets, microfiber sheets, nylon shorts, microfiber or poly tops can all be washed and readily dried. Avoid cotton which shows dirt and sweat faster, takes a lot of water to wash, and will NEVER dry in the salt air. I will never allow a pair of jeans on my boat again during a passage.
- Bring an extra set of sheets folded into a zip-lock bag with a nice-smelling dryer sheet (I use lavender). Then when you just can’t stand your sticky salty sheets any more put new ones on. Wash the old ones when you get to shore to save water while underway.
- Use vinegar for cleaning surfaces – cuts the mold, salt, grease and won’t hurt you if it’s not all wiped off (like soap or cleansers will)
- Have some kind of water collection device for (if and) when it rains. A simple tarp will do. We are going to try to use our stack pack cover since it’s the largest piece of canvas already on the boat. I’ll let you know how it works out!
Learn From My Mistake – Don’t Try This
Don’t wash your hair in salt water! I tried this thinking salt water would be better than oily gross hair – but I was so wrong. Salt-water washing leads to a stiff head of itchy hair that DOESN’T EVER DRY! Salt holds water, which I knew, but I didn’t realize what that would feel like on my head. Totally awful. I washed it out with fresh the next morning as soon as it was warm enough to bathe. The flexible bucket method really doesn’t use much water to wash your hair anyway – use fresh water!