Potable Water Testing for Ships

‘’To protect the health of passengers and crew, water used for potable purposes on board ship should be provided with sanitary safeguards in a multiple-barrier system (from the shore and distribution system, including connections to the ship system, through the ship treatment and storage systems and on to each water supply outlet), in order to prevent contamination or pollution during ship operation’’

- WHO Guide to ship sanitation (WHO, 2011)-

Drinking water supplied onboard ship require regular testing and documenting of results following regulations established during the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), 2006

A ship regardless of Flag, in the port state may be subjected to Port State Control Inspection.


BioMarine services provide comprehensive testing of potable water for microbiological and physio-chemical analysis in accordance with WHO drinking water quality standards to comply with MLC 2006. The analysis will be conducted in ISO 17025 accredited laboratories.

Sampling Requirements

WHO guide to ship sanitation (2011) recommends comprehensive water testing to be carried out minimum twice a year to ensure water quality stability. It is also required to maintain Water Safety Plans (WSP) and recommend the sampling for analysis be taken from the same outlets for consistency and to compare the results.

To obtain reliable and comparable information of the sanitary status of the potable water system, It is recommended to take more than one sample from the system. Sampling for legionella must be taken from the showerhead for both hot and cold water. Sampling for other parameters should be taken from the storage tank and the second sample should be taken from furthest away from the tank such as tap from Bridge deck. 


BioMarine services sample and analysis potable water for the following parameters in accordance with WHO guidelines for drinking water quality (2011)

•  PH                                    •  Lead
•  Temp. Cold water                •  Copper
•  Temp. Hot water                  •  Cadmium
•  Conductivity                        •  Iron
•  Hardness                            •  Nickel
•  Turbidity                              •  Zinc
•  Escherichia coli                    •  Chlorine, free
•  HPC at 20 °C                     •  Chlorine dioxide
•  HPC at 37 °C                     •  Colour
•  Legionella spp                     •  Odour


Regulation for potable water in ships 

World Health Organisation (WHO) via its International Health Regulations (IHR)
European Union (EU) proposed Drinking-Water Directive (DWD) 93/83/EC
Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006, (Standard A3.2-food&catering)


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