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Old 05-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #1
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Tanks.How much do I really need?

Two adults cruising, with four people, two adults and two children, occasionally.We will be out for a week at a time,7 day week.Two days will be spent off boat sight seeing,just spending nights aboard.How much tankage would you need for fresh water used to flush potti,shower,and do dishes occasionally.We drink and cook with bottled water when on the boat.What ratio do you use when considering black and grey water tanks?I'm thinking something like,100 gallons fresh,60 gallons grey,and 60 black.What say ye?How much water does your vessel use over a full week?
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:35 PM   #2
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Hey Ben. There are so many factors it is hard to say how much YOU need. I will say for us, we do not have a gray water tank so that is one less thing to worry about... We have 150 gal fresh and 30 gal holding. with the two of us we have easily gone four days at anchor with plenty left but we are from California and happy to skip a shower and follow the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" type water conservation methods. One of our friends stretches his fresh water by taking sunshowers to a nearby marina and filling them from a spigot, to use those for showers instead of his tank water.

Maybe someone has a scientific way of calculating. I know Peggy Hall had a formula for how much water is typically used per flush and that was a factor in our decision in the size of our holding tank, though we were limited by the space available...
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:43 PM   #3
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We carry 170 gallons of fresh water (which we drink) in two 85-gallon stainless tanks in the lazarette. The forward head is connected to an approx. 40 gallon holding tank in the engine room. The aft head is connected to a 25 gallon tank in the lazarette.

Our toilets are salt water flush so there is no fresh water demand there.

There are generally just two of us on board although we occasionally take two adult guests for two-week cruises into BC. 170 gallons of fresh water has been more than adequate although we generally top the tanks off once in a two-week trip. Not because we're particularly low but because we don't want to be.

The 40 gallon holding tank for the forward head has proven to be adequate for a pair of guests on our longer cruises although we usually dump it once during that period. The 25 gallon aft holding tank is not adequate for the aft head but there is no space for anything larger.

If you are trying to get a one-week capacity out of your tanks I would think that the 60 gallon black water tank would be pretty good. With kids and fresh water toilets I would probably rethink that 100 gallon fresh water capacity, though, and increase it by a fair amount if you can.

I can't offer any suggestions on gray water since most boats including ours don't have or need these up here.
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Old 05-15-2012, 02:53 PM   #4
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We use 15-20 gallons of fresh water/day with 2 adults and a dog. We have a Vacuflush head, shower every day and normal dishes. The dog gets rinsed after every beach walk. Clothes and boat washing usage aren't included.

Can't help you on the black or grey water tanks.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:26 PM   #5
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FWIW, I think 100 gallons of freshwater is def light on, I would double that if you can, grey water no idea, black water 60 gallons would be good.

Ben , why do you use bottled water to cook with?, is the tap water in your part of the world that bad?
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:50 PM   #6
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On the boat our grey water goes overboard so carrying it isn't an issue. On our bus we carry everything. We have 100 gallons fresh, 20 gallons drinking water, 100 gallons grey water and about 40 gallons black. The grey always fills up first. We're two adults who are accustomed to conserving water. We can go 10 days if we're really careful. I know people who claim to go longer on that amount of water but I wouldn't want to do it. For sure you'd smell really bad because after 10 days we're getting close to ripe.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:54 PM   #7
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Thanks for the help.What do you all do about grey water,over board?That's something that isn't allowed here.Well,not within a certain distance of shore.I doubt I will ever be more than a mile off shore,except for the gulf crossing on the Great Loop cruise.
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Old 05-15-2012, 07:59 PM   #8
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Black water is not allowed to be dumped overboard in the inside waters of Washington State. Overboard dumping of blackwater is allowed in British Columbia in areas that have not been designated no dumping zones. The no dumping zones for blackwater tend to be harbors, marine parks, bodies of water that have a low water exchange rate, and so on.

Gray water is not an issue at all up here. I'm rather surprised to hear it is in your area. So our sink drains and shower sumps simply go by gravity or pump overboard via through-hulls.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:01 PM   #9
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On the boat our grey water goes overboard so carrying it isn't an issue. On our bus we carry everything. We have 100 gallons fresh, 20 gallons drinking water, 100 gallons grey water and about 40 gallons black. The grey always fills up first. We're two adults who are accustomed to conserving water. We can go 10 days if we're really careful. I know people who claim to go longer on that amount of water but I wouldn't want to do it. For sure you'd smell really bad because after 10 days we're getting close to ripe.

The kids and myself will probably spend a fair amount of time in the water,so we probably won't shower everyday.When we do the great loop,it will be my girlfriend and our son.My oldest son won't go with us.We will use shower facilities where available.I will do a week on one of our large local lakes to get an idea of what I may need.I just need a starting point and I think i have that.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:04 PM   #10
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Black water is not allowed to be dumped overboard in the inside waters of Washington State. Overboard dumping of blackwater is allowed in British Columbia in areas that have not been designated no dumping zones. The no dumping zones for blackwater tend to be harbors, marine parks, bodies of water that have a low water exchange rate, and so on.

Gray water is not an issue at all up here. I'm rather surprised to hear it is in your area. So our sink drains and shower sumps simply go by gravity or pump overboard via through-hulls.

My shower will be close to water line so I would need a macerator pump to go overboard.I will check the grey water regs again to be sure.I know our lakes don't allow anything over board.I could add a ball valve and divert when not on the lakes.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:08 PM   #11
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My shower will be close to water line so I would need a macerator pump to go overboard.I will check the grey water regs again to be sure.I know our lakes don't allow anything over board.I could add a ball valve and divert when not on the lakes.
You don't need a macerator pump to pump a shower sump overboard. You do need a pump that won't get clogged or wound up with hair. The most trouble-free kind of shower sump pump is a diaphragm pump like a Whale Gulper.

But I did not realize you are boating lakes so I guess that presents different regulations and requirements to what I'm used to on salt water.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:27 PM   #12
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Thanks for the help.What do you all do about grey water,over board?That's something that isn't allowed here.Well,not within a certain distance of shore.I doubt I will ever be more than a mile off shore,except for the gulf crossing on the Great Loop cruise.
Except for a lake or two...99.9 percent of the places you go allow grey water directly overboard...certainly 99.9 percent of the great loop.
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Old 05-15-2012, 10:52 PM   #13
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Black water is not allowed to be dumped overboard in the inside waters of Washington State. Overboard dumping of blackwater is allowed in British Columbia in areas that have not been designated no dumping zones. The no dumping zones for blackwater tend to be harbors, marine parks, bodies of water that have a low water exchange rate, and so on.
This is no longer true but it probably deserves a separate thread. So let's just say this information is wrong as of May 2012 and I'll start a new thread.
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Old 05-15-2012, 11:09 PM   #14
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You don't need a macerator pump to pump a shower sump overboard. You do need a pump that won't get clogged or wound up with hair. The most trouble-free kind of shower sump pump is a diaphragm pump like a Whale Gulper.

But I did not realize you are boating lakes so I guess that presents different regulations and requirements to what I'm used to on salt water.
I didn't think about a diaphragm pump.It's been a while since I worked on a boat or RV with facilities.I thought I mentioned lakes.I will be on lakes and ICW along with planning a couple Great Loop trips.Since the boat will do the loop,I want to set it up for that and I will be covered for most anything else I will do.



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Except for a lake or two...99.9 percent of the places you go allow grey water directly overboard...certainly 99.9 percent of the great loop.
I will make sure to check regs for updates, but the lakes I go to don't allow any over board discharge.



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This is no longer true but it probably deserves a separate thread. So let's just say this information is wrong as of May 2012 and I'll start a new thread.
Thanks for clearing this up.Please post a link to your thread in case we miss it.
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:30 AM   #15
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Showers and dish washing are the big water wasters.

This is LEARNED behavior. And with practice a great shower can be had with 2 or 3 gal of water.

The solar plastic bag showers work well, or if its cool an old pump fire extinguisher holds about 2 gal, and can be stove top heated.

For rinsing dishes use a 1 quart pitcher ( 1 pint is even better!).

In most lakes the lake can be your supply , a simple wash down pump and cockpit showers isn't bad in summer..

Discharging waste is only a problem with cheap pumps , look for an Obendorfer (what is the heart of the usual dockside units) 10-20 years of service , but you pay up front for the pleasure of NOT repairing/replacing a black pump endlessly.

http://www.oberdorfer-pumps.com

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Old 05-16-2012, 08:28 AM   #16
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............the "if it's yellow, let it mellow" type water conservation methods. ..............
While that' an OK policy at home if you need it, it's generally a bad idea on a boat.

Why? Because on a boat, you typically have hoses, not pipe leading away from the head. Left for long periods filled or partially filled with urine, the hoses will become permeated with odor and stink up the boat.

It's important to use enough flush water to move any sewage out of the hoses and into the holding tank.

My wife and I will often share a flush. Two uses, one flush.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:33 AM   #17
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Thanks for the help.What do you all do about grey water,over board?That's something that isn't allowed here.Well,not within a certain distance of shore.I doubt I will ever be more than a mile off shore,except for the gulf crossing on the Great Loop cruise.
"Grey water" is what's left from showering, washing hand and dishes, etc. Only a few lakes in the USA prohibit draining grey water overboard. It's perfectly OK in coastal waters.

"Black water" is what goes through the head. Pee, pooh, and flush water. That's what is regulated everywhere in the USA.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:45 AM   #18
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While that' an OK policy at home if you need it, it's generally a bad idea on a boat.

Why? Because on a boat, you typically have hoses, not pipe leading away from the head. Left for long periods filled or partially filled with urine, the hoses will become permeated with odor and stink up the boat.

It's important to use enough flush water to move any sewage out of the hoses and into the holding tank.

My wife and I will often share a flush. Two uses, one flush.
I agree with Pineapple girl...but the again I have an RV toilet where it stays in the bowl...not the hose

Then again.... I don't think an hour or so till the next use is going to saturate any hose that much faster...lets see what she says about hose permeation.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:02 PM   #19
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If you really need to conserve fresh water install a foot pump for the sink.

Guests not acustomed to carrying water often think like they are at home.

If you have to pump it you won't leave the water running.

I have also seen a little contraption for the faucet. Looks like a stick hanging out of the faucet. You have to move the stick for the water to run. Let it go and the water stops. I don't know what it is called.

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Old 05-16-2012, 04:48 PM   #20
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Is this what you mean, SD?

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31HcUwOkZRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg

I got one of these from our water company for water conservation at home. I installed it on our two-handle galley faucet a year ago. This way we can set the temperature with the separate hot and cold handles and then toggle the water on and off as we need it for hand washing or dishes. I don't know how much we save, but I like not having the water running when it's not needed and not having to reset the temp every time I turn it off for a few moments.

Amazon.com: Kitchen Faucet Aerator On/Off / Water Saving Swivel Spray Stream 1.50 gpm: Kitchen & Dining
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