Skip to content. | Skip to navigation

Personal tools

The Ultimate Cruisers' Planning Tool


You are here: Home / Users / doina / The Story Of SeaPack - A Great New Emergency Water Desalination System

The Story Of SeaPack - A Great New Emergency Water Desalination System

By doina — last modified Dec 18, 2007 02:18 PM

Published: 2007-12-18 14:18:11

Methods for providing for water on a life raft have varied greatly over the past several decades. “You carry it, catch it or convert it”, claims Rick Feineis, owner of Manta Ventures, LLC. While acting as crew and bringing a 43’ catamaran up the Eastern Seaboard of the US Feineis began to delve deeper into what would happen if he wound up having to abandon ship. I asked the captain, “Where will the water come from?” I was shown numerous one gallon milk jugs that were full of water. “We’ll use these”, I was told. The thought of all of those full jugs made me think, how will they float if we capsize? They’ll sink straight to the bottom since they were full. We did not have a water maker on board. I asked why not? I was told that the hand held pumps were too expensive to have around just for use in the life raft. Upon returning to shore Feineis researched what could be used in place of the manual pumps that were so expensive to purchase. The result of that research is the SeaPack emergency desalination system.

In the early 1980’s, a mere two decades ago, life raft survivors of a disaster at sea were expected to either capture water from rain or distill it via evaporation chambers. These evaporation chambers, while working well in sunlit controlled environments, were rendered nearly useless in low light environments plagued by rolling seas and storms. It seems that the fragile environment needed to allow for the evaporation process to work didn’t mate well with real world situations.

During the 90’s compact reverse osmosis (R.O.) systems were introduced. These compact high pressure systems allowed the boaters to manually filter salt from the sea and to thus extract life giving water. These complex systems, heralded by all as a panacea, began to appear on more small cruising vessels each year. As time pressed on and as the technology improved, the systems became smaller and were able to be hand pumped instead of powered by electricity or hydraulics. At this point they became a true option for packing into a life raft or stored in an abandon ship or “ditch bag”. As reliable as these systems are, however, they never truly caught on with the cruising community for life saving. Prices begin at $800 and can go over $1300 per pump. They are complex and the internal components require maintenance. They also require that the survivor pump for great lengths of time to squeeze the salt from the sea.

In late 2006 Feineis’ company, Manta Ventures, released to the general public a life saving, survival drink producing system that has been used by the military for years. The same technology has been credited with saving US Special Forces lives in the desert and is now being used by both cruising and commercial marine vessels. The SeaPack forward osmosis (F.O.) emergency desalination system is the latest development in life saving equipment for use onboard a boat that has contaminated water tanks or for use in a life raft. This new system literally pulls water molecules through a membrane and combines the water with sugar based syrup that creates a high energy survival drink.

The process that is used does not require any pumping, electricity or solar heat. The SeaPack simply needs to be filled with sea water on one side and high sugar syrup on the other. The sugar solution then immediately begins to work by drawing water through a patented membrane. Bacteria, viruses, heavy metals, poisons and salt do not pass through the membrane. This type of system is affordable (less than $100 US), produces a high calorie survival drink (not just water) and does not require any manual effort other than to fill the I.V. size bag. The system comes with enough sugar charges to produce 2.5 liters of drink. Additional sugar charges can be stored in the abandon ship bag to produce up to 60 liters (15 gallons). Each SeaPack only weighs 2.7 pounds, yet it replaces twice its weight in carried water.

For more information visit the Noonsite SeaPack page