Sailors worry about water. They are consumed with concerns about water. Water is essential to their very survival and their boat’s safety. Too little water and the boat is aground, too much water in the wrong place and the boat is on the bottom. Water of the wrong kind, well Samuel Coleridge said it best, “Water, water everywhere, and nary a drop to drink.”

Second Star carries almost 100 gallons of drinking water, enough with careful use to last about two weeks. With a limited water supply, every ounce is precious. Cleaning stuff, cooking utensils, eating utensils, and human appendages are the largest consumers of water. Water of course is needed for survival, saving water when cleaning makes a difference.

Two simple ways to reduce water usage while cleaning are wiping dishes and cooking utensils with paper towels before washing and foaming soaps for hand washing. At home we use paper towels sparingly, preferring washable rags for cleaning and cloth napkins. On board, the opposite holds, we use rags sparingly as they need to be washed and we use paper towels for napkins and clean up. When the meal is over the dishes and utensils are wiped clean with used paper towel napkins before washing. This practice significantly reduces water usage.

Hand washing can consume large amounts of water and the choice of soap makes a difference. Foaming hand soaps help. Covid has, among other things, reminded us of how to wash our hands, however living on a boat with a limited water supply and being socially distanced means, we can cut a few corners. Foaming soap does that as it does not require wetting and diluting the soap before using. Water is only necessary to rinse. When bacteria is concerned a little hand sanitizer finishes the job.

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