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Two days ago, when I wrote about cleaning the water tank, I mentioned installing a water filter into Frost’s fresh water system. That comment prompted our friend Wade to respond with his views on the subject, and his endorsement of the very popular Seagull filter. As not everyone goes back to read the comments on older posts, I thought that I’d share some of the follow-up dialogue here.

Replacements for the original boards used to hold the water tank cover plates in place. Each one is made of two pieces of 12mm marine plywood, rotated 90 degrees from one another so that the grain is in opposition. Even though they should never get wet, I coated them with epoxy to seal them.

While we have several friends who have installed Seagull filters on their boats, and I’ve heard no complaints, I commented to Wade that they were very pricey. Some would say “insanely overpriced” (actual comment on Amazon). In 2009, Boat Bits posted an article on marine vs. real-world pricing, and it singled out this filter as an example. I took note of the filter that Boat Bits recommended as an alternative to the Seagull, and actually ordered one for the Leopard when we were outfitting it for charter. Unfortunately, at least partially due to my suckiness at plumbing, I was unable to properly install it into the fresh-water system. The boat was plumbed with PEX piping, and I couldn’t get a proper seal on the small Sawyer filter. That said, who says I’d have been any better at getting the 10X more expensive Seagull to work?

This image shows how the new boards hold the water tank’s fiberglass gasketed cover plates in place, pulling them up onto the top of the tank from the inside.

Thank you Wade for your comments which prompted me to write this post!


  1. I despise plumbing too Mike, primarily because of the wide variety of plumbing connections possible. Just to add to the complexity, we’re in NZ now and NZ/Australia use the UK version of plumbing fittings. Yes, it might be 1/2″, for example, but the threads are different. Its tough just to connect to the dock water for a wash down hose.

    I have no doubt you can find the necessary connections to fit your plumbing to the hose barbs of the Sawyer filter. However, the Sawyer was made for camping and backpackers. Do you really think the housing will standup to the continuous pressure on a boat water system, typically about 25-40 psi? In fact, some of the comments I read said just that, it weeped at the seams ……

    Buy yourself a Seagull. Remember, it comes WITH the facet. While in NZ we changed all the facets in the boat, because they were badly tarnished over years of use. The Seagull facet did not need anything, just a little polish.

    • You’re right about plumbing fittings. Every time I go to the chandlery to purchase parts for a project, it’s like a puzzle trying to piece together the limited bits that they have in stock to achieve my goals.

  2. Hi Mike, I’m the full-time RV living guy that just commented on your RV/van living post. For my RV I use pretty inexpensive #10 water filter housings ($25/each) and several different filters (larger sediment filters to carbon filters) for all water going into my motorhome fresh water holding tank and coming out the drinking water faucets. Never had a water issue. Based on that, I don’t feel that a mega-hundred dollar filter is necessary. However; that doesn’t help the pain of plumbing all this into a system and it certainly slows down the tank fill process (the filters are restrictions in the flow). Oh, I also run the water thru an “On The Go” water softener as it goes into the motorhome. This is necessary here in the southwest USA as the water is fairly hard in most places.

    • Once away from the dock our water, almost 100% of our water will come from our RO watermaker. Even though that water is fine, a filter at the tap would act as safety buffer, dealing with any contaminants that somehow make their way into the tank, or are trapped in the older plumbing.

  3. Forget proprietary filters and elements. Go to (or others) and look at the G3 Slimline 2×10 and the FlowPlus 10. NSF cyst certification, 0.5 micron filtration, standard parts, and Seagull performance for 10% of the price. Filtration prices have come down, if you know where to look. And in a bind, you can get parts world-wide; you are not bound to a single maker. For a little more, you can get cartigies that OUTPERFOM Seagul for less money. Bear in mind that Seagull is not NSF certified for microbe removal, other s are.

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