On my boat, I don't have a problem with water getting into the bilge, except by user error. The bilges on my boat are relatively shallow...two-inches or so deep, and I don't have most of the holes through the bottom that monohulls have—no prop shaft packing gland, no engine cooling through-hull, no in-hull exhaust, etc.
On several boats I've done the work on, I've installed two bilge pumps along the centerline of the boat, as well as one on each side to help when the boat is sailing. One of the two along centerline is a small "maintenance" pump which has the float switch down as low as possible, and is a really small pump—mainly to deal with the leaks from the stuffing box and such. The other three electric pumps are high volume bilge pumps, for dealing with large volumes of water, whether from the cockpit being pooped, or a leaking through-hull. The float switches for the port and starboard pumps are slightly outboard of the pump strainer, to help make sure the pumps won't be switched on unless necessary.
If the bilge has separate sections, due to bulkheads, floors or stringers, I'll generally either drill limber holes or, in the case of watertight bulkheads, install another pump.
I try to keep the hoses as short as possible and the rise as little as possible to help the pumps maximize their output. I prefer the mini-diagphragm pumps, rather than impeller-based pumps, since they can pass small objects more easily.
I also usually install a high-capacity manual bilge pump accessible from the cockpit. On a larger boat, I might also have a high-capacity manual pump in the cabin someplace. The reason for the manual bilge pumps is in case of electrical failure or to assist in the case of a lot of water coming in.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 09-16-2007 at 07:29 PM.