Sailboat Watermaker Installation on a Crealock 37

Small Sailboat Watermaker Installation

Hi Righ, here are several photos showing the installation of your water maker on Lagniappe, our Crealock 37.   I was concerned with where I could mount the various components but everything other than the control panel fit nicely in the engine room on the port and starboard bulkheads.

 System works great and served us well last season in the Bahamas. 

 Thanks for your support and guidance during the installation and commissioning. 


 Greg & LizAnn Mulvany

S/V Lagniappe

Crealock 37


Here are some photos of Greg’s installation. First I have to compliment Greg on having such a darn clean and nicely laid out aft engine compartment.  I’m sure it was fun to hold the motor up on the bulkhead for mounting, but what a great job of using “wasted space” to mount gear.  The installation highlights that you can mount the motor on a vertical bulkhead by rotating the pump on the motor 90-degs.

watermaker high pressure pump


From thhis angle you can really see how every inch of space was used for the water maker.

Watermaker on a small sailboat


Greg mounted the remote panel in the lazarette and this photo shows his 1/4″ red sample hose that is used to test the product water quality before sending the water to the tank.  If you look closely, you can see the white float in the flowmeter and the PSI pressure gauge is set to 800psi, so the unit is running.

water maker lazarette panel location


It may seem obvious when you see it, but I like this photo because it shows Greg using his product water sample line to easily refill his on-deck water jugs.   Our Hudson Force 50 carries 450 gallons of water, but we still keep a 5 gallon water jug on deck for emergencies or to share with our friends that don’t have a watermaker!

Marine watermaker filling a sailboat water jug





A 12v to 120v Water Maker Swap Out

Mark on SV Reach has been out cruising for a few years with a 12v DC 8GPH water maker and decided it was time to upgrade to a higher output water maker.  So after shopping around, he bought our 30 gallon SM30 water maker.  As many cruisers with 12v DC low output water makers find out, you just can’t have enough water while out cruising.  You can check out his installation photos on his blog at SV Reach Blog Click Here.

With Marine Watermakers: Size Matters

I will be the first to stand up and say that I LOVE my job. Where else would I get to work from the lower salon of my sail boat from whereever I am and talk cruising and watermakers with friends and clients.  But I will also admit that my work schedule is more of a lifestyle than a Job.  The 7 day a week work schedule does sometimes wear me down.  Then an email comes in from a client and makes all the hard work, late night emails and Saturday client communications worth it!  Sure it may be considered bragging when you share a favorable client water maker email, but the truth is we all like to get a pat on the back from time to time to help keep us smiling at 11PM while working on a Friday night!


“I commend you for your commitment to your product and your customers.  I had intended on getting a 12 volt watermaker system until talking with you at the boat show. I have never regretted getting an AC system. Many friends run their 12 volt units for several hours to fill the tank, while monitoring/augmenting battery amps. That is a lot of wear on the components for a little water. One friend recently missed an outing with friends in the San Blas Islands because he had to stay aboard and run his 8 GPH DC watermaker for several hours to fill his tanks. We did a passage with them, and it seemed that the sound of the watermaker was nearly constant during daylight hours, while underway. I never run mine for more than an hour, getting the amps from the main engine, my Honda generator, or shore power.  I have made more than 1000 gallons of water so far, with only 37 hours of run time.”

Lane Scott
La Paz, Mexico
SV Adesso

Converting a Spectra to a Cruiser RO Water Maker

After years of operating their Spectra DC water maker, Tom contacted Cruise RO Water Makers to talk about converting their Spectra water maker our concept of a “Keep it simple” high output AC 120V unit.

Dear Rich,
We replaced the membranes supplied by you in November 2013 in our Spectra Newport 700. We are now considering replacing the unit with one of yours and I was hoping to use some of the Spectra parts that we already have. We have the seastrainer, 50,20,5 micron filters, FWF filter, pressure vessels ( 2 @ 40″ ) and membranes. I believe we would need the boost pump, high pressure pump and motor and the control panel. Could you provide us with a price to make this conversion and any comments you may have.
Thank you,

Tom’s project highlights the truth that all marine water makers operate on the same principal of delivering a flow of high pressure sea water to a Reverse Osmosis membrane.  The sea water first needs to be prefiltered to remove solids before sending it onto the high pressure pump.  Our water makers use an industry standard stainless steel piston pump to generate the pressure while a unit like Spectra uses a proprietary energy recovery Clark pump.  We control our water maker with manual valves while a unit like Spectra uses electronic controls.  When you strip things down to basics all marine water makers operate on the same basic design criteria but have different approaches to put the principals into practice.

Being a cruiser owned company where the owners and designers answer the phone calls and emails, it is common for us to integrate our parts and “KISS” design concept into other manufacturer’s parts and systems.

As a growing number cruisers are coming to the realization that they need to run their generators to keep up with the power demands of their low output 12/24v DC water makers many are deciding to upgrade their water maker.  As an example, if your 12/24v DC water maker uses a single 40″ RO membrane an upgrade could turn your low output unit in a 20 Gallon per Hour water maker or if like Tom you have two 40″ RO membranes you can have a 30 gallon per hour water maker!

Dear Rich,
With your help we finished the conversion our Spectra Newport 700 water maker on our 48 Krogen to your unit.  We did not use anything electronic since we wanted to use your approach to simplicity. As you can see by the photos the system is simple and easy to service. We are looking forward to many years of trouble free service.

Water Maker Cruiser Review

I know it is a Cliché to say it, but it’s Water Maker reviews and emails like this from happy clients that makes it all worth it to me.


“I purchased my CruiseRO water maker after I arrived in La Paz, Mexico during the Bajahaha 2012 trip. After over 1.5 years of continuous use I have not had a single problem with the water maker. Product Support – during and after installation – was the best I have received in any industry. Cruise RO’s water maker pricing was among the lowest and Rich the owner was there to answer my weekend skype calls when I had a question.  I hear parts are available anywhere, but have not needed anything yet.”


Jerome Phillips
MV Kinda Blue a 41 Hershine Trawler



Water Maker Complaint Email

The names and email addresses of the innocent have been redacted, but this was one client “complaint” email that we were happy to receive.


—–Original Message—–
From: [30 GPH Water Maker Client]
Sent: Saturday, December 21, 2013 4:34 PM
Subject: Damn you Rich


Yesterday we bought a small pressure washer for the boat because, as [my wife] put it, “since we can make enough water now, we can use it to keep the boat clean all the time” (by “we” she means “me”, of course).


Now she is slowly slipping in comments about washing machines.
This is your fault, and is something you should make perfectly clear on your website regarding your high output water makers.


Thanks for making more work for me!
[30 GPH Water Maker Client]

Water Maker Installation on a Catalina 400 Sailboat

The following was sent in by Tim, the owner of SV Magic a Catalina 400 Sailboat after returning from their first season of cruising the Bahamas.  Not every client sends such a detailed water maker installation write-up to us.  So when this one came in we had to share it!


In the spring of 2012, in preparation for extended trips to the Bahamas from the Chesapeake Bay, we decided to add a watermaker to our inventory. After an exhaustive search, we decided on the 110-volt SM20 by Cruise RO Water Maker.  This decision was based on several factors:

•    Modular design. I could put the components basically where I had the most space and where it was most convenient. The Catalina 400 doesn’t have a lot of excess storage space and it was important I use wasted space whenever possible:

•    High output (20 gph) using a Honda 2000i to power the high-pressure pump. Since we already had the generator that saved us money.
•    Price. This unit was almost ½ the price of almost every other system I found and had a higher output than any.
•    Customer support. I had no idea how much I would wind up relying on these guys during the design and installation of my system. Even though Rich was on his boat in Mexico, I never had to wait more than a couple hours for a response to either an e-mail or phone question.
•    Easy of operation. While not as automatic as other systems, the instructions were very clear and it was quickly apparent it would be easy to operate.


Once we made the decision to buy the system, my biggest priority was to find locations on the boat where the watermaker would take up the least amount of usable storage space. That space wound up being one of our huge aft cockpit lockers. I was able to put all components of the system in this locker except the saltwater intake and associated lines.

I wanted to place the relatively heavy high pressure pump relatively low and near the centerline and since the bottom of this locker is curved, had to construct a shelf that provided a flat mounting surface but also fit the contours of the hull. The photo at left shows the platform, which is tucked up under an overhang in the aft cockpit locker, painted and glassed to the hull structure itself. This was unused space before. If you look closely you can see a separate plate directly under the pump. Between that and the platform is a piece of rubber that I included to reduce vibration noise. The pump was already relatively quiet, but the rubber shock-absorber did help.

I found space for mounting the Valving/ Cleaning Assembly, Boost Pump and dual Pre-Filter assembly along a transom locker wall that intrudes into the aft cockpit locker. Minor modifications to how the assemblies were put together were made to reduce water line runs. Rich Boren at Cruise RO was extremely helpful here, helping ensure these mods would work for our application. Note: In the photo the valve assembly has been reversed. The line leading in from the left is the freshwater flush that comes from a connection in the cockpit shower. The second photo shows where saltwater flows into the valving assembly and then to the boost pump. Barely visible at the bottom right of the photo (around a corner) is the dual filter assembly. While sailing the boat, all these assemblies are covered and protected by a line bag that hangs from the top opening of the locker.

After leaving the dual pre-filter assembly, saltwater then goes to the high-pressure pump which (in my case), is AC powered. At anchor, I accomplish that by running my Honda generator, plugging it into the shore power receptacle and then plugging the AC pump into the 110-volt receptacle shown in the lower photograph.  Two major components still needed to be installed, the membrane (where the magic happens!) and the Remote Panel. In my case, the membrane fit nicely (if snugly) right against the forward bulkhead of the cockpit locker and can be seen in the photo to the left. This blue “tube-like” membrane runs athwartship and is well protected. Note: Slipping slightly larger reinforced water lines over the watermaker plastic lines in strategic spots protected them from chafing. The people at Cruise RO were extremely helpful here in helping me locate potential weak spots.

The last major component, the Remote Panel may have provided me the most head scratching of the install. I kept moving that unit around and checking both fit and utility until I found a location where it was both accessible and secure. I wound up hanging the panel directly below a couple of shore power circuit breaker plates at the outboard side (port) of the locker which allowed fairly good viewing, was protected from the elements and made water line runs pretty easy. To ensure “stiffness” I attached the panel to a couple aluminum bars that I then used to attach to the circuit breaker plates. The piece of aluminum seen at the bottom right of the photo stiffened the bottom of the panel nicely. Note:  At the bottom of the Remote Panel are two rocker switches, one for the boost pump, and the other for the high-pressure pump. You will note just above the boost pump switch (left), I installed a 15-amp circuit breaker. I think it is a nifty location.

The only remaining installation challenge was how to plumb saltwater to the watermaker and discharge the brine. I tapped off one of my head intake lines to bring seawater to the system and all brine discharge lines were connected to existing cockpit deck drain lines.


During our 6 months in the Bahamas, I had absolutely no problems as all with the watermaker. We did continue to take “Navy” showers and otherwise conserve our fresh water, but I only found it necessary to make water every 3-4 days for about 1 ½-2 hours at a time. I only plumbed the RO water into my aft tank (to avoid a long water line run to a bow tank) and we used it almost exclusively. We had enough water that I even allowed myself to give the boat an occasional freshwater bath!


Bottom line is that I couldn’t have been happier with our Cruise RO SM20 watermaker. Yes, it did fall into the “want” list rather than the “need” one, but I viewed it as a quality of life benefit. While other cruisers stood in long lines waiting for questionable island water, we pretty much made as much as we needed! My hats off to Rich and Charlie of Cruise RO Water!

Small Boat Water Maker Installation

Having been in the water maker biz for a while, I’ve done my share of installations and seen photos of even more.  But when Barry Bartholomew, the owner of SV SeaSwift, a 35ft canoe stern Southern Cross sailboat, sent me photos of his recent installation I was impressed!  Barry managed to use the space under his v-berth bunk to install our 20 gallon per hour water maker and still leave room for storage.



Along with the installation photos, we received the following email from Barry.

“Hello Rich,

I am writing to make certain you know I am very pleased with the installation and performance of my Cruisers RO SeaMaker 20 water maker! SV SeaSwift is a 35′ canoe stern Southern Cross and the flexibility of the component design helped me fit the unit to the space my boat would allow. Thank you so much for making the experience a great one.  After years of seeing other cruisers struggle with their ineffective, complex, overly expensive, high maintenance water makers I’m so glad I chose Cruiser RO to get the job done.


Your great service and availability to answer questions even on weekends is second to none!”

Slocum 43 Sailboat: Water Maker Installation



Often the best way to describe the installation process of a Cruise RO Water Maker is to have a client do it!  So here is a blog post made by Dan on SV Papillon, a Slocum 43 sailboat, about his 20 gallon per hour water maker installation.


Link to Water Maker Installation Blog