My family has been enjoying trips to the ocean for several years now. Even as a young kid I can remember my parents taking us to the ocean and we would spend hours in the water. I also remember learning that the ocean is not a drinking fountain. The very first time that I tasted ocean water I actually threw up! I had no idea just how salty the water really was. I’m sure that most of you have had a similar experience. Ocean water is beautiful to look at and awesome to swim in, but it is horrible to drink.
It wasn’t until I became an adult that I learned just how bad ocean water really is for our bodies. I have heard several stories of people being lost at sea and trying to survive by drinking the water only to find that the water worsens their situation. In a real survival scenario there is no way that you can live and drink ocean water. There is also no way that you can live without drinking water. So what are you supposed to do if you have no other option but salt water? We lived at the coast for several years and during that time I learned that even the water inland is salty. It was around this time that I started learning more about prepping and survival. So I naturally wanted to learn how we could make fresh water from ocean water.
Everyone learned in elementary school that the world is covered by almost 75% water. The vast majority of that water is salt water. We also know that the majority of the world’s population lives within a few miles of the ocean or a gulf or a sea. Salt water is all around us and most people are going to need to learn how to cope and survive in this area. There is a method to making salt water into fresh water. It is not easy and it is not quick, but it can work well in the right circumstances and it could actually save your life.
I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina. It is in this area that the famous NASCAR was started. Except it wasn’t started because a few guys wanted to race cars. It all started because many of the mountain men were making moonshine and running it from place to place. NASCAR started out as a drunken moonshine race against the local police. Why is this important to survival? This is where the concept of a still becomes important. In order to make whiskey you need to have a still. This is the same type of contraption that we will need to build to turn salt water into fresh water.
In order to make a working still you are going to need a few items. Some of these are not hard to find in a pinch but others will need to be secured before they are actually needed. You are going to need fire wood and lots of it. You are also going to need a large pot that can handle an open flame. I use an old cast iron pot myself. The pot also needs to have a lid. The lid will need to have a small hole in the top. (More on this later) you are going to need approximately 10 feet of flexible water line. I have used copper line as well as flexible plastic. The key here is to make sure the line is only ¼ of an inch wide and no more than ½ an inch. You will also need an additional pot or bucket that can catch the water as it comes out of the tube.
How It Works
Once you have your supplies, it is actually a fairly simple procedure. The only thing that is hard about this is getting a secure fit between the lid and the water line. Apart from this you simply have to have patience. What you are going to do is gather a pot of salt water. The pot of salt water will be secured above an open flame and then you will start heating the water. As the water heats it is going to start to steam. As the water boils this steam will become thicker. As the steam rises and flows through the water line it will cool down and condense. Condensation is something we are all familiar with. The great thing about condensation is that even though you are boiling salt water, the salt does not transmit into the steam or the condensation. As the condensation builds you will start to notice a small drip beginning at the opposite end of the water line. This is fresh water that can be used for drinking, cooking, or anything else your heart might desire.
Things To Remember
You need to make sure that you are able to create a small hole in the lid for your pot. If there is no hole then the steam will not be able to escape. You also need to make sure that you are able to secure the water line into the hole. A loose fit will mean a loss of steam. As for the water line, the reason that it needs to be flexible is simple. The water line will need to be coiled, in several spaces. I typically shoot for a minimum of 3 loops in the water line. The loops allow the steam to cool faster and it helps produce more condensation.
The whole process is somewhat time consuming and it will not produce a ton of fresh water very fast. But it is possible to make 3-5 gallons of fresh water per day using this method. This is good news for those of you that live along the coast.