Question: At a recent boat show I noticed something on a brand new boat that put me off a bit. The enclosed photo spells it out, I think. As I was walking around on deck I noticed that the waste holding tank pump-out deck fitting is located right next to the potable water deck fill. This seems wrong to me because there may be a risk of contamination to the potable water system. Is there an industry standard that specifically addresses this? Is the boat compliant with industry standards if it is set up like this?

The potable water inlet and holding tank pump-out fittings are way too close to each other on this new boat. If you have an arrangement like this, be extra careful to keep the contents of those tanks separate.

Answer: This is a really good question. I have also noticed this sort of arrangement as I’ve looked at new boats at the fall boat shows.

The bottom line here is that the ABYC standard H-23, which addresses potable water systems, is quite clear on this matter. It states, in regard to potable water system tank inlets:  “The storage tank inlet shall be permanently installed, preferably in a vertical plane, in an accessible and protected location, as far as practicable from the fuel tank fill and sewage pump out fittings.”

I think the reasoning behind the above statement is quite obvious. I’ve personally seen at least three of four new boats this fall that do not even come close to meeting the spirit of the above standard. Listen up builders!