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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
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  #1  
Old 12-12-2008
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Bildge Pumps

Are there any bildge pump systems that stand out among the rest? Specifically looking for one that can pump the bilge dry and not have a back flow of stinky bildge water flow back in. I would like one that sucks it dry like a wet vac and then blows it all out the stern. Maybe this would be a secondary to the real work horse that is going to try to keep the boat from sinking, but it would be nice to flip a switch and remove all bildge water.

I think that there may be products like thiss built for superyachts, but I don't have superyacht space or a superyacht budget.
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I have a Rule "automated" pump in a boat that collects a lot of rain water. It has an internal sensor that makes the pump come on when the water level rises and keeps it running 20 seconds after the water level drops so it cycles less. This also makes it suck out more water before shutting off, but it still leave about an inch of water.

Another pump, The Whale SuperSub claims to get the water level down to 3/8" or something like that. I bought one, but haven't tried it yet.

The only way to prevent the water in the hose from coming back in is a check valve at the pump. The problem with this is that the water that remains in the hose will freeze, potentially causing it to burst, leading to a whole new set of problems.
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The best way to set bilge pumps up is to have a fairly small "maintenance" bilge pump with a small diameter hose that is mounted as low in the bilge as possible. The smaller the diameter hose, the less water that will flow back into the bilge. This will keep the bilge empty and take care of the basic drips that happen as a routine matter.

There should also be at least one larger bilge pump with its float switch mounted a couple inches above the level of the first bilge pump. This should be a very high volume bilge pump and is the one that will evacuate water in the case of a hole or downflooding.
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In my Coronado 41's keelbolt area I have a lot of narrow channels that trap shallow pools of water. I hate having water around the keelbolts and mast step!

I installed a movable maintenance pump as sailingdog described so I can move it to the 5 different channels and suck up what i can ever week or so.

But the best thing I've found to keep that last quarter inch of water at bay are a half dozen of those cheap wishbone car washing sponges. Just have to wring them out into a bucket once in a while. I wonder if I could combine a cheap bilge pump and a sponge somehow.... hrmmmm

A permanently installed shopvac with a long hose might do the trick, but that would be pretty wonky
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In search of the dry bilge.

I recently asked Customer service at Rule (also Jabsco) this same question and here is their answer:

"If you wanted to remove as much water as possible, you could try installing a diaphragm style pump. The diaphragm pumps have internal check valves and are self priming to at least 6'. The only drawback is that the diaphragm pumps do not have as much flow as the centrifugal pumps. If you mounted the centrifugal pump switch higher than the switch for the diaphragm pump, the diaphragm pump could be used for the daily water seepage and the centrifugal pump could be used for emergency pumping.

A new pump that may fit your needs is the Jabsco 50880-1000. It's a diaphragm pump that doesn't need a filter made is made for bilge applications. The key issue is that the 50880-1000 has 3/4" ports instead of the 1 1/8" ports. Check out the link: http://www.jabsco.com/files/50880_sh..._pump_data.pdf "

Looks like the pump for the job! The only drawbacks I see are:
1. switching the pump to be automatic and yet sense water levels low enough to keep the bilge dry. I'm wondering if I could turn one of those switchs that uses water to complete the circuit upside down (to sense water at a lower level) to switch the pump?
2. At over $200 (without switch) it's pricey!
Still, if I could overcome 1. I would bite the bullet on 2. If anyone has any Ideas, please let me know.
I think one of the major advantages to this pump is that the intake is on a hose and can be placed where pumps might not fit. Also, the intake is about an 1/8th of an inch off the bottom of the bilge and will therefore collect more water. All theory at this point, of course!

Last edited by L124C; 12-13-2008 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 12-12-2008
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Just put a check valve in. Many manufacturers do it. It may require periodic attention as junk can clog it up.

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Old 12-13-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KindOfBlue View Post
Specifically looking for one that can pump the bilge dry and not have a back flow of stinky bildge water flow back in.

None will dry the bildge. As for the stinky . . . . . . . I will spill a tad bit of head deoderizer in the bilge on occasion. Works great.

And now for something completely different . . . sort of. I learned this the hard way last year. My boat was on the hard during a cold snap and the bilge water froze breaking the pump. Water also froze in the knot meter paddle on the hull. Now it leaks!!! Drat!!!!!!!!!
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Old 12-13-2008
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Thanks for the suggestions. I will certainly look into all of them.

It may be that we are looking for a yet-to-be-developed product called "The Sneezer". Whenever you have a tad too much water in the bilge, you just push a button and the boat sneezes.
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Old 12-13-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
Just put a check valve in. Many manufacturers do it. It may require periodic attention as junk can clog it up.

- CD
Put a check valve into what? They are not recommended for primary bilge pumps for exactly the reason you mentioned. The Jabsco pump I referred to (for use as a maintenance pump) has a valve installed already.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retclt View Post
None will dry the bildge. As for the stinky . . . . . . . I will spill a tad bit of head deoderizer in the bilge on occasion. Works great.

And now for something completely different . . . sort of. I learned this the hard way last year. My boat was on the hard during a cold snap and the bilge water froze breaking the pump. Water also froze in the knot meter paddle on the hull. Now it leaks!!! Drat!!!!!!!!!
Have you ever tried a Diaphragm pump? Your story is yet another great example of why a dry (or relatively dry) bilge is important. One that I would have never thought of.
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