How to Install Water Tanks on a Sailboat

How to Install Water Tanks on a Sailboat
A water tank in your sailboat gives you the freedom to take her out on longer trips. With a large enough tank, you could conceivably take twenty-day sailing expeditions. If you're not looking to get away for that long, having several gallons of water in your tank will make an afternoon on your boat more enjoyable by allowing you to have fresh drinking water onboard.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Water tank
  • Expanding foam (two-part)
  • Large, serrated knife
  • Power sander
  • Epoxy (for boats)
  • Paint (optional)
Step 1
Choose the spot to put your tank. When figuring out where to install your sailboat's water tank, you've got to consider how the water weight will affect your boat's balance. If you place the tank in the far aft (back) or the bow (forward), the changing weight (as you add or use water) will be problematic. Placing the water tank in the low hull, on the waterline will reduce the affect the tank has on the ship's balance. Often there will be an alcove or partition designed to place tanks in. Find the spot for your tank and measure it. This measurement will be the upper limit for how large a tank you can purchase.
Step 2
Choose your tank size. A good rule of thumb is to allow for one gallon of water per person for every day you'll be out on the water. For example, if you want to take four people on a sailing trip for three days, you'd need a 12-gallon tank.
Step 3
Place the tank in its designated spot, and pour the first part of the expanding foam beneath the tank. Allow the foam to sit until it's cured. Repeat this process with the second part of the expanding point. Follow the temperature guidelines on the foam packaging. If the temperature is cooler than recommended, the foam will not expand as much as it should.
Step 4
Trim the foam with a large serrated knife in order to have the foam fit perfectly into the tank spot. You don't want the foam spilling out over the edges. It should look neat.
Step 5
Shape the foam with the power sander, making it nice and smooth. A two to four inch sanding disk works well for this job.
Step 6
Coat the foam with the epoxy, and allow to dry. Sand the foam once more to finish it off. (Optional: paint the tank and the foam to match your boat. Some paints claim they prevent mildew growth, so you could consider buying one of those brands.)
Step 7
Connect the water tank to your water pump, and fill the tank with fresh water.

Article Written By Kelsey Childress

Kelsey Childress runs a freelance creative business called Awen Creative that specializes in SEO Web content, social media marketing and blogging. She has been writing for online and in-print publications for over six years, and has a bachelor's degree in English literature and creative writing from Kansas State University.

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