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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #11  
Old 06-19-2007
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I have clean, shallow, but completely bone-dry bilges on my boat and see no reason to dump water into perfectly dry bilges just to empty water tanks. If the bilge is dry, why put water into it... that doesn't need to be there.
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  #12  
Old 06-19-2007
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Thats because its still on land...NO?

When I need to drain the tanks I open the valve and let the bilge pump do the work.

You still don't explain why its a PITA and a "bad idea"

Last edited by T37Chef; 06-20-2007 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 06-20-2007
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T37Chef-

Even when she's in the water, the bilge is bone dry... all the water that has ever gotten in the bilge has been due to my error... forgetting to dog a hatch, leaving the drop boards out when they shouldn't be, dropping a 2.5 gallon bottle of water, etc.

I see no reason to mess up a perfectly dry bilge, since most bilge pumps can't drain the bilge 100% bone dry, it introduces a fair amount of moisture into the boat, and the wetter the inside of a boat is, the more likely you are to have rot, mold and mildew problems.
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  #14  
Old 06-20-2007
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I can see SD's point of not wanting an overly wet bilge, especially since he dosen't have a keel - just a roundish torpedo tube along the centerline, flanked by two outriggers . The vertical distance from his boat's bilge bottom to the above waterline through-hull, must be relatively short.

On my boat however . . . and I suppose on most keel boats, it's nearly impossible to pump all standing bilge water out of the keel bilge. This is due to the fact that my draft is 5'-2" and all water left in the drain hose will fall back into the bilge, once the helm switch, or float switch, disconnects power.

There also seems to always be some trace amounts of oil residue at the bottom of this dank cavity - and as everyone knows, oil floats on water - but the pump draws from the bottom. I use one of those giant bilge tampons, but even still - some oil always seems to stay there.

Therefore, unless you've scrubbed the keel bilge upon haulout, I would avoid deliberately raising the bilge water level whenever possible.

Getting back to how we discharge our 140 gal water tank - I use our PAR belt-driven diaphram pumps by turning on a galley sink tap. Those Jabsco PAR pumps do a very efficient job of quickly pumping water to onboard sinks - which is then drained by gravity through a below waterline (but above ground when on the hard) through-hull.
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A washdown pump used to blast seawater at your anchor or freshwater at your deck will also serve well to empty the water tanks. Simply install a 'T' fitting with a 3/4" ball valve between the freshwater manifold and the onboard freshwater pump, and temporarily attach the washdown pump to it, open the valve and empty the water tanks. The valving internal to the freshwater pump prevents backflow through the pump, and the washdown pumps often provide higher volume and pressure than most of the onboard freshwater pumps - they are also considerably less expensive. Just a thought.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrueBlue
I can see SD's point of not wanting an overly wet bilge, especially since he dosen't have a keel - just a roundish torpedo tube along the centerline, flanked by two outriggers . The vertical distance from his boat's bilge bottom to the above waterline through-hull, must be relatively short.
LOL... my bilge is all of 3" deep... what do you expect on a boat with a centerboard up draft of 15" or so.

Quote:
On my boat however . . . and I suppose on most keel boats, it's nearly impossible to pump all standing bilge water out of the keel bilge. This is due to the fact that my draft is 5'-2" and all water left in the drain hose will fall back into the bilge, once the helm switch, or float switch, disconnects power.
I've also never seen a float switch that didn't require at least a inch of water or so to function. A layer of water an inch deep over the entire bottom of the bilge is a lot of water for you to get rid of via evaporation... and if your boat doesn't have A/C, you're going have a dank, sticky, musty boat until it goes away.

Quote:
There also seems to always be some trace amounts of oil residue at the bottom of this dank cavity - and as everyone knows, oil floats on water - but the pump draws from the bottom. I use one of those giant bilge tampons, but even still - some oil always seems to stay there.
There is that risk of dumping some oil from an unclean bilge into the water... and that can lead to nasty fines...

Quote:
Therefore, unless you've scrubbed the keel bilge upon haulout, I would avoid deliberately raising the bilge water level whenever possible.
Even then, I see absolutely no point in putting water where it don't belong on a well-found ship. Standing water in the bilge, even fresh water, helps contribute to higher humidity, possibly hull osmosis, mold and mildew, and corrosion of equipment. I've seen no arguments as to why draining the fresh water tanks into the bilge makes any sense.

Boasun's point about work boats, which have very high capacity pumps and very, very large tanks, makes sense to do so, but on most sailboats, what is a good reason?

T37Chef might be used to a dank, wet, slimy bilge, but that isn't the case for many of us. RickBowman also doesn't give any valid reasons for the practice.

Quote:
Getting back to how we discharge our 140 gal water tank - I use our PAR belt-driven diaphram pumps by turning on a galley sink tap. Those Jabsco PAR pumps do a very efficient job of quickly pumping water to onboard sinks - which is then drained by gravity through a below waterline (but above ground when on the hard) through-hull.
Makes sense to use the pump the way it was meant to be used...
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  #17  
Old 06-20-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RickBowman
Don't do that! Empty the water from the water tanks into the bilge and let the bilge pump deal with it. The freshwater pump should be saved.
I hope you are joking - Abuse the possibly life saving Bilge Pump to save the freshwater pump
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christyleigh
I hope you are joking - Abuse the possibly life saving Bilge Pump to save the freshwater pump
Then Go to a rental place and rent a stripping or a mud pump and use it. They come either electric or gas powered. A hundred gallons? about 10~15 minutes of pumping for a two~four hour rental fee.

Geesh people think outside the boat. (deliberate twist on that metaphor). If you don't want to put the time on your own pumps then go get another one from a rental store or a hardware store.

Dump the fresh water in the bilges? add a touch of detergent and elbow grease on the end of a scrub brush and clean it up. You may find all of those tools that had disappeared over the past couple of sailing seasons.
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I cant understand what is wrong with siphoning the water over the side using a simple garden hose. No electric would be required. Nothing gets in the bilge. No wear on motors.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun
Dump the fresh water in the bilges? add a touch of detergent and elbow grease on the end of a scrub brush and clean it up. You may find all of those tools that had disappeared over the past couple of sailing seasons.
Oh... sure I agree with testing the Bilge Pump and using it to keep the bilge clean - it was the running it for hours for no good reason I was questioning. Of course a ten second test could be the last ten seconds of life in the pump... ya never know... .... but a couple hundred gallon 'test' is waaaayyyy over the line
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