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Published on 05/05/2023

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Best Potable Water Testing Kit in 2023

As we all know, water is essential to human life, and care must be taken to ensure it is free of potentially harmful contaminants; this is true everywhere, but especially on board vessels. Potable water testing kits are one of the quickest and most convenient ways to know if your drinking water on board is safe. Professional laboratory testing, although thorough, can take too long to process if the ship is underway, and damage may already be done. However, deciding which marine potable water testing kit to use can be challenging due to the vast selection available today. This is especially true given the stringent compliance requirements of MLC 2006 onboard testing. If these requirements are unmet, severe repercussions can be the result, including possible legal and financial sanctions. We have written this guide to highlight important steps to take when choosing the best potable water testing kit and to help you make an informed decision and ensuring not only your crew and passengers’ safety but also compliance.

What is a potable water testing kit?

A potable water testing kit analyses the water quality to ensure it is safe for consumption. These kits can detect harmful contaminants such as Legionella, Chlorine, Escherichia Coli, Coliform bacteria and other waterborne diseases. Potable water testing kits are widely used in schools, offices, and construction sites, but especially in remote locations, such as onboard vessels with limited access to labs, to ensure the water is safe for drinking, cleaning and other daily activities.

Types of potable water testing kits

There are different types of water testing kits available, each with its own unique features and capabilities. The most common types of potable water testing kits are:

  1. Test strips: They are easy to use and affordable, perfect for detecting contaminants like chlorine, nitrate, and pH levels in the water.
  2. Colour disk kits: These kits can determine the concentration of specific chemicals in the water. Test results are compared to a colour gradient disk, and the concentration of the chemicals is determined. Compared to test strips, they’re complicated to use, so prior training is necessary.
  3. Portable digital metres: These handheld devices measure various parameters such as pH, conductivity, and total dissolved solids (TDS). They’re best operated by professionals, as training and calibration of the device are essential.
  4. Laboratory testing kits: Some kits require further analysis at the lab. Experts at the lab will conduct a series of tests to determine the quality of the water and see how your water compares to the Guideline for Drinking Water Quality (GDWQ) set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Factors to consider when choosing a potable water testing kit

With so many different testing kits available, choosing the right one for your vessel can be challenging. There are several things to take into account when selecting a potable water testing kit, including the following:

Understand the different types of water testing kits.

Before choosing a potable water testing kit, it’s important to understand the different types available; scroll up for more information on the varieties available.  Test strips are the most affordable and straightforward to use and more suitable for regular testing as mandated by MLC 2006. It is advisable that at least once a year, vessels send out their water samples to standard laboratories for testing, as test kits might not always provide the most detailed results.

Consider the contaminants you want to test for.

Different contaminants can be tested using different water testing kits. Some kits are designed to test for specific contaminants, such as chlorine, e- coli, pH, nitrates and other waterborne diseases, while others can test for a wide range of contaminants. Before choosing a water testing kit, it’s important to identify the specific contaminants you want to test for. This will help you choose a kit that is tailored to your needs and will provide relevant results.

Look for certifications and accreditations.

When choosing a potable water testing kit, looking for suppliers with certifications and accreditations from reputable organisations is important. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides comprehensive guidelines covering drinking and potable water quality on ships and other marine vessels. The criteria for water testing will differ depending on where you are in the world, as each flag state establishes minimum standards to guarantee that all potable water is of acceptable quality. So, knowing the criteria in your region is equally important.

Check the ease of use and accuracy of the kit.

When choosing a potable water testing kit, it’s crucial to consider both its ease of use and accuracy. A test kit that is difficult to use or requires extensive training may not be practical for everyday use. Look for kits that have clear instructions and are easy to use, but also have high accuracy. You may also want to consider the time it takes to get results, as some kits may provide instant results, while others may require lab analysis.

Read also: How to test potable water

Testing frequency

Consider how often you will be testing your water. If you will be testing frequently, choose a kit with multiple test kits as well as a long shelf life. You want to test the water onboard at least once a week to be compliant with MLC 2006 guidelines, and this can quickly add up. In addition, many test kits have a shelf life of 3 months, meaning stocking up on extra supplies might be impossible when you’re at sea.

Compare prices and customer reviews.

In addition to considering the above, it’s also important to compare prices and read customer reviews (if available) when choosing a potable water testing kit. Look for kits that fit your budget and have positive user reviews. This can give you a better idea of the kit’s overall performance and reliability. If necessary, ask for recommendations from other industry professionals or consult an expert to help guide your decision.

Choosing the right potable water testing kit is crucial in ensuring the safety of your crew and passengers on board. When selecting a water testing kit, it’s important to consider its ease of use, accuracy, and certification, whether you’re using it on a construction site or on a vessel, finding the right kit is essential.

If you’re looking for the best potable water testing kit, especially if your current testing system is expensive, Drinksafe is an excellent option. It gives highly accurate results in minutes, is affordable, easy to use, even for those unfamiliar with water testing and is suitable for long-term use with a shelf life of 18 months. Moreover, it guarantees compliance with all flag state requirements as well as MLC 2006.

Drinksafe is trusted by some of the world’s largest shipping companies to ensure the health and well-being of their crew and passengers.

Get in touch with our friendly team today to learn more about our innovative products and services or download the potable water test kit brochure.

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