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  #1  
Old 07-07-2005
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Pumping out a flat bilge

Our 22-foot trailer boat has developed a small leak around its daggerboard pocket. Its been repaired more times than I wish to count, so we''ve grown to accept it as part of the boat''s personality.

Problem is that the cabin takes in maybe a half-gallon a day. Wired up an auto bilge pump. But since most bilge pump switches don''t turn on until there''s a 2-inch rise, the boat would take on a mass of water before the pump is triggered. This is because the cabin floor is basically flat and there is no ''bilge'' per se. There is no real depression or cavity for water to collect in, so the water slowly spreads across the cabin floor to be eaten by our (growing) collection of sponges.

How can you create a bilge pump when there is no bilge, and/or the water collects in a big pool that is just not that deep?

THANKS!
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Old 07-07-2005
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Pumping out a flat bilge

http://www.docksidereports.com/bilge_water_blues.htm
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Old 07-09-2005
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Pumping out a flat bilge

That was close, already looked at it. The core problem is as they say:

"Naturally, this pump has to be operated manually since no float switch can function in an inch of water. Therefore, it gets wired to a manual on/off switch."

Back to square one.
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Old 07-10-2005
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Pumping out a flat bilge

There are switches with two probes that will function in very little water, but the typical Rule pump itself has about a 3/4" threshold to be able to move water and depending on the hose size, some water runs back down the hose after the pump cycles. If you use a Par remote pump and flat strainer pick-up in combination with the probe type switch, you will get most of the water out.
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Old 07-11-2005
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Pumping out a flat bilge

It''s hard to imagine that your boat doesn''t, as you claim, have a "bilge" even if it''s a 22 footer with a daggerboard. My 25 ft. CB boat certainly has a "sole" that you walk on, and I suspect yours probably does too, i.e. you''re not walking directly on the hull when you''re walking about in the cabin. Thus, there''s likely some minimal gap between the sole and the actual hull that constitutes a "bilge".

So if you do actually have a bilge, you just need to access it with an intake hose with a strainer on the end connected to the vacuum bilge pump recommended in pascoe''s article. Try to figure the lowest point in the bilge (probably next to the Daggerboard trunk if the hull slopes downward towards the daggerboard) and mount the strainer there. Then you just need to remember to switch the pump on every time you visit the boat. You might need to put a limber hole in the sole to allow water that gets onto the cabin floor to get down into the bilge.

If you really don''t have a bilge (i.e. if your cabin sole is the hull) then I guess you would have to have a discretely mounted strainer near the low point in the floor attached to the manually switched vacuum pump, and use a sponge to get the last few cups of water if you want to be really fastidious. Or you can build up the hull with filler/fiberglass and leave a "well" near the existing low point to make your very own bilge well for a submersible pump. Lotta trouble for a fairly minor problem, though, plus it''s going to take away a couple of inches of headroom, which you probably already don''t have a lot of.

Allen F.
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Old 07-11-2005
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Pumping out a flat bilge

Rule pumps make automatic bilge pumps. Instead of a float switch these have an electronic chip that turns them on periodically for a few seconds. The chip then senses whether there is water flow (I think by measuring current to the motor. Higher current means it''s pumping water). If there is flow the pump stays on. If not, it quickly shuts down.

Here''s Rule''s web site for these pumps:

http://www.rule-industries.com/prodInfoApp/servlet/DisplayProducts?typeId=RATBP&page=0&catalogId=Mari ne&categoryId=BILGE&companyId=RULE

I think the test run current is small averaged over time and with a half gallon a day may be well worth it.

You still have the problem of having enough depth for the pump to suck on but maybe with a short remote pick up tube it might work. Don''t see any at Sailnet but I think West Marine carries them.
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Old 07-11-2005
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Pumping out a flat bilge

Problem is Allen that there really is no bilge. The sole is laminated to the hull. Theoretically there is a tiny space between them (where its delaminated), but nothing even close to pump-inlet or strainer depth. Wish I could post a pic, the issues would be obvious then.

We cut in a 4" inspection point in the sole at its lowest point (right in front of the daggerboard pocket), so the lip of that inspection plate offers -- again theoretically -- a 1/4" depth in which to collect water. But its too small to fit a pump and switch; and the switch still needs a 2" rise to activate.

And the idea of an automatic swicth is attractive at first; until you consider the wasted amps it uses to turn on every 15 mins "just in case" there is water collected.

Right now was are trying a somewhat "duct tape" solution. We''ve built a small damn of sponges in a circle around the collection point and placed the pump & switch assembly inside that ring. Kinda like an oil boom around an oil slick or something (smile).

While not a rational nor professional solution to the problem it might do the trick as a remedy for this season.

Jonathan

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Old 07-19-2005
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Pumping out a flat bilge

We have a bailer, two bailers on either side of the centerboard of our 18'' Buccaneer that are adequate if the boat gets up to hull speed. This would seem like the alternative to not adding more equipment, batteries and dams to the sole of your boat. Good luck. Jack
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