Can you boil seawater and drink it?

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, “can you boil seawater and drink it,” discuss how seawater can become drinkable and convert seawater to potable water safely.

Can you boil seawater and drink it?

You certainly can, but it’s not recommended.

That’s because the water you get from the ocean is pretty salty and therefore needs to undergo desalination before you can drink it. Desalination is precisely what it sounds like, removing salt from water. You can find desalinated water in many places, including your local grocery store.

When you boil seawater, some water evaporates and turns into steam while some of the salt stays behind. If you’ve ever boiled pasta or rice in a pot of salted water, your dish tastes salty when it’s done.

The salt is left behind in the pasta or rice as the boiling water evaporates. If you do this repeatedly, you’ll eventually have a tiny bit of salty water and a lot of salt leftover.

What are the techniques by which seawater can become drinkable?

You can use several techniques to make seawater drinkable. These techniques include:

1) Reverse osmosis

2) Distillation

3) High-pressure distillation

4) Membrane filtration

5) Active carbon filtration

6) Desalination

How does the reverse osmosis technique make the seawater drinkable?

Reverse osmosis is a technique used to make salty water drinkable. The reverse osmosis technique is a filtration method that removes salt and other impurities from water.

The process is as follows:

First, the water to be treated is pumped at high pressure through a semipermeable membrane. Only pure water can pass through this membrane; salt, minerals, and other impurities are trapped on the membrane surface. Thus, the water coming out of the system is desalted and purified.

At the end of the process, some of the treated water is diverted back to the sea (to maintain pressure in the system), and the rest is stored in a reservoir for subsequent use.

How does the distillation technique make the seawater drinkable?

1. The distillation technique involves boiling the salty water and condensing the vapors coming from it to collect the distilled water.

2. In this process, salt remains in its original form while water vaporizes.

3. When it vaporizes, the saline matter is separated from the water and stays in its original form.

4. Distillation is the best process to eliminate the salt content in seawater and make it drinkable.

How does the filtration technique make the seawater drinkable?

Making seawater drinkable starts with a technique called filtration, which is responsible for removing the solid particles from the water and making it clean and pure. The process is achieved by passing the water through a sand filter, cloth, or membrane to remove the suspended solids from the liquid.

Types of filtration

There are different types of filtration techniques available that can be applied to make seawater drinkable, and they include:

  • Flocculation/Coagulation Filtration
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Reverse Osmosis Filtration
  • Nanofiltration
  • Disinfection by chlorination

How does the desalination technique make the seawater drinkable?

Desalination is a process to make saltwater drinkable. It converts saltwater into freshwater by removing the dissolved salts in it. There are two main processes of desalination. One is distillation, and the other is reverse osmosis.

Solar still is a way to use distillation for desalination. It works because water evaporates when the salty water is heated, whereas the salt does not disappear. The steam thus formed gets condensed on an excellent surface and gives freshwater as condensate.

In reverse osmosis, pressure is applied to force pure water through a semipermeable membrane that blocks the passage of dissolved salts, thereby leaving behind saltier water on one side of the membrane and fresher water on the other side.

Is converting seawater to drinkable water safe?

Studies have shown that converting seawater to potable or drinking water is safe. The treatment method involves removing wastewater through physical and chemical processes. These processes involve:

Strainer and screen

This step aims to remove large floating particles, such as trash and leaves.

Grit removal

This step aims to remove small particles, such as sand, clay, hair, and eggshells.

Primary sedimentation

Here the water is allowed to stand in an open tank so that heavier particles settle at the bottom while scum floats on top.

Chemical treatment

Chlorine or other disinfectants are added here to kill any remaining bacteria or viruses in the water.


The water is passed through delicate layers of sand or gravel to remove further impurities from the water.


The water is disinfected again with chlorine or chloramine for safety before being sent out for public use.

Regarding taste and health impacts, converting seawater into drinkable water should not be different from any conventional method of producing potable water from new sources like lakes and rivers.

Other FAQs about Water that you may be interested in.

Should you use filtered water to make coffee?

Is it safe to use tap water for coffee?

Can you boil water on a charcoal grill?

How much water for 2/3 cup of rice?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the question, “can you boil seawater and drink it,” we discuss how seawater can become drinkable and convert seawater to potable water safely.