If you are planning a long boat voyage, you may want a water purifier so that you don't have to carry as much drinkable water. This is especially true if you are traveling with a large party.
If you are boating in fresh water, the water most probably contains the pathogens Giardia and Cryptosporidium, which can cause severe gastro-intestinal illness. If you are an ocean boater, sea water must have the salt removed before it is safe to drink.
Purifying Fresh Water
Water purifiers for fresh water can be found in camping stores, sporting goods shops, and boating supply stores. They are lightweight and relatively inexpensive.
Boiling is the best method of cleaning your drinking water. Boiling will kill all the pathogens in water, provided you boil the water at 212 degrees F for at least thirty minutes. The downside of boiling water is that many pleasure boats don't have a heat source or the large kettle necessary for this purification technique.
A new, high-tech solution for water purification is an ultra violet (UV) penlight. This battery operated gizmo uses UV light to kill microbes in about two minutes per liter. Patents are pending, but the UV penlight is getting good reviews. It is expensive, but cheaper than a filter system, and take into consideration that the batteries must be recharged periodically.
Salt Water Desalination
A reverse osmosis pump is the best choice for emergency salt water purification. The water must be forced through the filter, which requires you to provide some force for pumping. There are battery operated units and hand operated units. The hand pumped reverse osmosis filters require about an hour of pumping to provide a gallon of drinkable water, but they are lighter weight and no consideration needs to be given to batteries or electrical sources.
You should add one of these methods of water purification to your emergency gear for any boating trip. Water purifiers are light and affordable. It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
Steve Dolan is an avid outdoorsman and has owned several boats. Share his insights at Boats and Boating Supplies and check out more about boats at Luxury Boats and Yachts.
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