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We have been asked on several occasions to recommend the best hose for use on a boat so we decided to investigate the hose options available from Gardena. Gardena have a huge range of hose reels, and hoses, but which one is best for use on a boat?
A good hose pipe is needed on board for topping up water tanks, washing salt and grit off the deck and general cleaning around the boat. Most marinas and quays have now removed their communal hosepipes for hygiene reasons. In many ways the point is valid because when you put the communal marina hose into your water tank you literally don’t know where it’s been: has it been dropped into the marina water, or dragged along mucky pontoons, or worst of all, used to flush out a blocked holding tank - you just don’t know.
This is an important requirement for all boat equipment, and, unless you are a wealthy Russian Oligarch, is lack of space. Your hose pipe and hose reel must be easily stowed in a small boat locker along with tons of other boat equipment. There just isn’t room for a bulky hose reel.
A durable hose is essential for the rough life it will inevitably have on the boat. A cheap, low quality hose will probably end up in a marina skip in a short space of time. This includes the hose reel or cart that will be bashed, squashed and dragged around on a daily basis.
The hose will often have to lay along a narrow pontoon, hang across guard rails, cross neighbouring boats and so on. The cheap, stiff hose is almost impossible to route successfully and you’ve always got a fight on your hands. It will most likely end up in the bacterial soup that is most marina water, and you’ve contaminated your hose.
We considered all the Gardena hoses and reels for the job and, given the requirements, we homed in on the Gardena Liano Hose 30 metre as potentially the best hose for boat use. We’ve tried selling other brands, but they just don’t compare - they may be cheaper but the quality isn’t there. The Liano hose is flexible, durable, stows easily, and gardeners love it. We sell hundreds each year and there are almost no failures. Would it be as successful on boat?
We put the Liano Hose into service on a cruising sailing yacht, used intensively for the warmer months of the year, with maintenance throughout the winter months. The old, and useless bulky hose reel was consigned to the bin and replaced with the 30m version of the Liano Hose. A flat hose rollup system had previously been tried - not bad for storage, but the flat hose is simply not durable enough for life on a boat. A piece of loose hose had been also been trialed for an earlier season but this failed badly, with a tangled mess of squashed and kinked hose pipe taking up more than its fair share of locker space.
Straight away we saw the Gardena Liano Hose was obviously more practical for storage - you can just throw the hose into the corner of a locker. It doesn't take up much space and doesn’t need rolling up at all; it can be pulled out of the locker as it went in. There weren’t any tangles and the Liano was always immediately ready for use. With no hose reel necessary the space saving on the boat was considerable. We found that a storage bag was useful, initially using a plastic supermarket bag which was replaced with a more permanent bag once we realized this was the ideal method of storage. So, for ease of storage alone, the Liano Hose wins over all other options.
The flexibility of the Liano Hose is perfect for the tight confines of the boat. Gone were the days of trying to lash down an uncooperative stiff hose as it tried its best to spring out of the water tank filler. There were no more annoying kinks causing restricted water flow.
We did find that the end fittings were too large to fit into a water tank filler, so we constructed a short detachable tank filler pipe to make using the Liano easy for tank filling. The filler pipe had the advantage of being easy to detach for cleaning and disinfecting in the galley sink before use, to keep the whole process as hygienic as possible. This simple addition required a 13mm extension joint and a hose connector plus a short length of ordinary 13mm (1/2") hose pipe.
We also found it essential to also have a good cleaning nozzle. There's always plenty of crusted salt around the boat, mud on the anchoring equipment and general crud everywhere after a couple of days sailing. The leaky budget cheapy went in the bin because the Liano hose is supplied with a basic Gardena nozzle, which is more than adequate. We also tried out this Gardena Classic Cleaning Nozzle; it did the job of deck washing really well - almost like a pressure washer. Even better, using the best there is, the Gardena Premium Cleaning Nozzle gave the same performance but with a superior build quality and jet control, and a really high quality feel.
The Liano Hose had a tough year on the boat. The summer was spent constantly sailing and visiting marinas daily, so we were topping up tanks and washing down frequently. The Liano Hose was dragged along numerous pontoons and harbour walls, around sharp edges and around dock cleats. Boat maintenance during the autumn and winter involved dragging the hose all around the boat for washing off with a pressure washer. The high quality connections showed no sign of leakage and the heavy outer covering of the Liano Hose showed absolutely no sign of wear despite the unfair abuse. It is obvious that the Liano Hose is completely up to the hard life on a boat and is likely to last many years. Just to be sure, the Gardena Liano Hose has a 30 year warranty, so Gardena are quite confident in the product as well.
So, you can ditch the clumsy hose cart, and the kinked and inflexible hose pipe, the best solution is the Gardena Liano Hose - it does the job perfectly.