Safe drinking water is a must on board vessels of all shapes and sizes, of course, so it’s imperative that owners and operators take all the necessary steps to ensure their potable water is of the highest standard. There are a number of infectious diseases which can be found in unsafe water, and it goes without saying that the repercussions of health problems in the confines of any ship can be disastrous.
A number of harmful bacteria and viruses can be found – and therefore spread – in infected drinking water. They include legionella and E.coli, as well as a wide range of enteroviruses, including polioviruses, echoviruses and coxsackieviruses, any of which can cause serious issues among crew members and passengers on board vessels in all parts of the world.
The sensible option is to have access to a potable water test kit that can be used to check the integrity of all sources of drinking water whenever and wherever required. Peace of mind is a must in this important issue, if only because there are so many other potential pressures involved in running busy vessels. Avoiding the spread of dangerous bacteria at sea should always be a top priority.
Chemical poisoning is also a very real threat
While most people involved in the maritime industry will use a potable water test kit primarily because of the risk of infection, it should also be noted that the threat of chemical poisoning is a very real one when water drinking water has become unsafe. There are a number of chemicals which have been found in drinking water supplies on land, and any of these could, of course, make their way into marine supplies.
In 2016, a study in the US found deadly chemicals in the water supply serving six million people right across the country. These materials included man-made chemicals originally developed to fight fires and insulate pipework, as well as others normally used to prevent stains on furniture. The more common chemicals discovered in the study have been linked to cancer, obesity, hormonal problems and high cholesterol levels.
As well as the health benefits of using a potable water test kit, it’s worth remembering the financial cost of bacterial disease on board ships. If crew members are taken ill, timetables may need to be changed, resulting in costly penalties for late deliveries. Finding crew members in an emergency can be difficult, and of course, there could be compensation issues to deal with at a later date. No wonder more and more industry leaders are emphasising the importance of clean, safe drinking water.