Using "Starboard" for bilge pump mount? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 06-08-2006
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Question Using "Starboard" for bilge pump mount?

We're on the dry and part of our project list is to inspect our dual bilge pumps which are screwed into the fiberglass bottom/side of the bilge. It's been recommended that instead of re-installing the pumps by screwing back into the fiberglass that we use "starboard" as a mount for the pumps and just lay the board into the bottom of the bilge with the pump installed. Any expert thoughts on whether this is a recommended practice?
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Old 06-08-2006
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Sounds good, but no, no, no,

While screwing into the fiberglass at the bottom of the keel can sometimes be "scarey" because you hate the diver (bottom cleaner) coming up and saying, "Hey, dude? Do you know you got two screws stickin' down out the bottom of your keel?"

Then you say like, "Oh, um, uh, the last guy that owned the boat did that. I think he drank a lot, you know? I'm going to fix that next time I haul it out."

The truth is, especially with the Rule pumps, you only need screws about 5/8" (total) long to securely hold down a pump. They won't go through. You can snap new pumps into the plastic base over and over, and if that dies, use the same screw holes to mount a new pump.

Leaving a pump attached only to starboard amounts to leaving it almost loose in the bilge. A severe knockdown or wild rush through a violent squall can result in a pump hung way up somewhere and out of play. Out of play until your engine suddenly shuts down and you realize your bilge is filled and water is sloshing on your electrics. This is particularly frightening at night and might result in the crew running in circles, waving their amrs over their heads and screaming, "OH MY GOD!!! WE'RE GONNA DIE!!!!

I do, however, mount my float switches on bent aluminum strapping, 1/8" x 1 1/2" and secure the top end of that to the engine beds or other high place that allows east replacement of the switch.

Bilgewater can stink. Get as much of it out as possible and don't provide a little crack/space under a piece of starboard to culivate some real stink, or living blob that crawls out at night and drinks your last beer.
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Old 06-09-2006
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I would mount the bilge pumps on a starboard/marine polymer bracket, that is solidly attached to the boat in some way. That way, you can easily lift the pumps up for inspection/maintenance, but they will stay where they are supposed to when they are in use.

I would mount the float switches to the same bracket as the pumps. That way you can inspect both the switches and pumps at the same time.
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Old 06-09-2006
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Cored Hull ?

If you have a cored hull, especially if it is balsa cored, you do not want to be putting screws into the hull as water will follow which is not a good thing. Better to mount off a stringer or whatever.
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Even if you mount off a stringer, please check to see if the stringer is wood cored. If so, please drill oversized holes for screws and fill with thickened Epoxy, and then re-drill.
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Old 06-09-2006
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Thanks!

Many thanks for all the extraordinary advice!!
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Some great advice here. I like to mount my float switch off the bottom of the bilge a little bit, so a little water can gather before it goes on. I always figured if the switch was mounted too low, one could have a leak and not realize it becasue the bilge would always seem pretty empty. Some bilges do not allow for this type of mounting.
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What is a "starboard"?
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Old 06-09-2006
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"Starboard" I borrowed the description from a dealer!!

It's a polymer sheet used in marine applications in lieu of wood.
Starboard marine grade sheet is a UV stabilized textured material that was developed specifically for the marine industry. Starboard is a dense material that allows for easy fabrication with standard woodworking tools, it takes a screw and can be glued together with special adhesives. Its slight texture on both sides allows starboard to retain its cosmetic apperance in most marine aplications.
You will find starboard being used as seat backs, cabinets structures, locker doors, opening locker lids, bait tank components and in any place where a clean structural marine grade material is needed. Interstateplastics sells this material cut to size exclusively on our website. To enquire about other thinknesses, colors, and quantity breaks please call us at 800-742-3444.
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Irwin32-

You'd be better off mounting the float switch as low as possible and installing a bilge pump cycle counter. Letting any water build up inside your boat is generally a bad idea... and can lead to other problems: free surface effect stability issues, osmosis, etc.

There was a nice little project on making a bilge pump cycle counter from a cheap pedometer on a website. I'll see if I can find a link for you.
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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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