The benefits of a watermaker on a sailboat
The benefits of a watermaker on a sailboat

Discover the benefits of having a watermaker on your sailboat, ensuring you have a constant supply of fresh water and reducing your reliance on expensive marinas.

The Benefits of a Watermaker on a Sailboat

Sailing the open seas with your family is an incredible experience, filled with adventure, freedom, and quality time spent together. However, one of the most important aspects of living on a sailboat is ensuring that you have access to clean, fresh water. This is where a watermaker comes in. In this article, we will explore the benefits of having a watermaker on your sailboat, as well as some essential information to help you choose the right one for your needs.

Table of Contents

What is a Watermaker?

A watermaker, also known as a desalinator or reverse osmosis system, is a device that converts seawater into fresh, potable water. It works by forcing seawater through a semi-permeable membrane, which filters out salt, bacteria, and other impurities. The result is clean, fresh water that is safe to drink and use for cooking, cleaning, and other daily tasks.

The Benefits of a Watermaker

There are several advantages to having a watermaker on your sailboat, which we will discuss in detail below.

1. Fresh Water Supply

The most obvious benefit of a watermaker is that it provides a constant supply of fresh water. This is essential for long-term sailing trips, as it ensures that you and your family have access to clean water for drinking, cooking, and bathing. Without a watermaker, you would need to rely on stored water or make frequent stops at marinas to refill your tanks, which can be both inconvenient and expensive.

2. Convenience

Having a watermaker on board means that you can produce fresh water whenever you need it, without having to worry about running out or rationing your supply. This can be especially useful in remote locations where access to fresh water may be limited or non-existent. With a watermaker, you can enjoy the freedom of sailing without being tied to marinas or other water sources.

3. Safety

In addition to providing a reliable source of fresh water, a watermaker can also be a valuable safety feature on your sailboat. In the event of an emergency, such as a leak in your water tanks or contamination of your stored water, a watermaker can be a lifesaver by providing an alternative source of clean water. This can be particularly important when sailing in remote areas where help may not be readily available.

4. Cost Savings

While the initial investment in a watermaker can be significant, it can save you money in the long run by reducing your reliance on marinas and other water sources. The cost of purchasing water at marinas can add up quickly, especially if you are sailing in popular tourist destinations where prices may be inflated. By producing your own water, you can avoid these costs and potentially recoup your investment over time.

5. Environmental Impact

Using a watermaker can also help to reduce your environmental footprint by minimizing your reliance on plastic water bottles and other single-use items. Many marinas and water sources provide water in plastic containers, which can contribute to plastic pollution in our oceans. By producing your own water, you can reduce your consumption of single-use plastics and help to protect our marine ecosystems.

Choosing the Right Watermaker

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of having a watermaker on your sailboat, let’s explore some factors to consider when choosing the right one for your needs.

1. Capacity

The first thing to consider when choosing a watermaker is its capacity, or the amount of fresh water it can produce per day. This will depend on your specific needs and the size of your sailboat. As a general rule, you should aim for a watermaker that can produce at least 20-30 liters (5-8 gallons) of water per person per day. This should be sufficient for drinking, cooking, and basic hygiene needs.

2. Power Source

Watermakers can be powered by a variety of sources, including 12V or 24V DC systems, 110V or 220V AC systems, or even manual hand pumps. The best option for your sailboat will depend on your existing electrical system and your power generation capabilities. Keep in mind that watermakers can be energy-intensive, so it’s important to ensure that your power system can handle the additional load.

3. Installation and Maintenance

Another factor to consider when choosing a watermaker is the ease of installation and maintenance. Some watermakers are designed to be easily installed by the boat owner, while others may require professional installation. Additionally, some systems may require more frequent maintenance than others, such as changing filters or cleaning the membrane. Be sure to research the specific requirements of the watermaker you are considering and factor in the time and cost of maintenance when making your decision.

4. Budget

Finally, consider your budget when choosing a watermaker for your sailboat. Prices can vary widely depending on the capacity, power source, and features of the system. While it’s important to invest in a high-quality watermaker that will meet your needs, be sure to balance this with your overall budget for your sailing adventure.


Having a watermaker on your sailboat can provide numerous benefits, including a reliable source of fresh water, increased convenience, and cost savings. By carefully considering factors such as capacity, power source, installation and maintenance, and budget, you can choose the right watermaker for your needs and enjoy the freedom and adventure of sailing with your family.