Houseboat On-Board Water Systems

Houseboat On-Board Water SystemsYour Forever Houseboat comes equipped with several convenient water management systems, all designed to help make sure you have enough clean water throughout the duration of your trip. These water management systems are both convenient and easy to understand and provide a visual display of how much water is available for use. Your houseboat instructor will explain the functions and limitations of this system prior to departure, and will answer any questions you or your crew may have about managing it. 

When you arrive at the marina for your houseboat orientation, a qualified and experienced Houseboat Instructor will review the water systems with you. Most "Captains" find it helpful to assign one or two " First Mates" to take part in this important orientation to make sure everyone else on board is briefed on water use and conservation.

Fresh Water
The fresh water tank on your boat provides all of the clean, filtered water you will use in the sinks, showers, dishwasher, and ice makers. The capacity of this tank will vary depending on your houseboat type. There is a water gauge on the helm to check your supply - if you are running low, you will need to head to the marina for a fill up. Careful water use by your whole crew can help avoid running out before you return.

The tank has its own filter and the pressure and flow is controlled by two fresh water pumps. You can control the water pressure with a switch on the 12-volt panel at the helm for the water pumps. The switch has three positions: the center position is "OFF." Use this position when no water is needed. You can turn the pumps on by switching either direction. If one fails, switch to the other. There is limited water pressure so don't try to use too many faucets at once.

Houseboat Tip: the hot water heater runs on generator power. It is important to make sure the generator is switched on BEFORE stepping into the shower in the morning!

Waste Water
All of the sinks, showers, and toilets on a Forever Houseboat drain into a common waste holding tank. The capacity of this tank will vary depending on your houseboat type. No wastewater goes into the lake. This tank is emptied back at the marina when you return your houseboat. Conservation is very important to avoid filling up your tanks too quickly. A gauge at the helm will keep you appraised of capacity and "Tank Full" warning lights will alert you to the need to have your tank pumped out sooner.

Marine Toilets

Marine Toilets
There are some big differences in how an on-board toilet works from the one you use at home. The marine toilet on your houseboat draws water from the lake for flushing, and the water is discharged into the same tanks that all of the sinks and showers also drain into. Nothing goes into the lake. The whirring sound you hear when flushing is the in-line macerator grinding up the waste on its way to the holding tank (think garbage disposal). One important thing to remember is to never add anything other than the toilet paper provided to the marine toilet. Paper towels and feminine products will clog the bowl and wastewater system. It is also important to never pour chemicals down the drains.

Simple steps to conserve your fresh water supply and make it last for the whole trip:

  1. Don't leave the water running when you are washing, brushing your teeth, or shaving.
  2. When showering, turn the water off while lathering up.
  3. Use the dishwasher with a full load as opposed to washing dishes in the sink.
  4. Make sure your whole crew is familiar with the management of the water systems as well as all the conservation procedures. 

*Conservation is also very important to avoid filling up your waste holding tank too quickly.

Hot tub
If your houseboat features a hot tub, you will be pleased to learn that it has it's own dedicated water system, filling and draining into a separate water tank. It will take at least 4 hours to heat your hot tub so you will need to plan ahead. The houseboat instructor will review your boat's specific hot tub system during your orientation.