Catalina 30 water in the bilge - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-18-2011 Thread Starter
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Catalina 30 water in the bilge

We just bought an 86 Catalina 30, during the survey there was about 1" of water in the bilge. We were concerned so we had the seller dry it out completely and waited a week to make sure none came back (the seller said he never removed the water when he had the boat put in this spring). The bilge was bone dry for at least a week with the boat in the water. Once we took ownership we put ice in the ice box and now we have water in the bilge once again.
My first question, does the ice box drain into the bilge on this vintage Cat 30? I know it did on the older ones but I'm not sure about ours, I assume this is where the water is coming from.

The bilge pump is a Rule mate that turns on automatically with approx 2 3/4" of water so there is not enough to activate it nor is there enough to submerge the hose for the manual pump to remove it all.

So my second question is what is the best way to pump out all the water in the bilge? I am going to replace the pump just for peace of mind but I have no reason to think its not working.
I am not happy about just leaving the water in there the way the PO was.

What does everyone else do?

Thanks
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-18-2011
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We always have a little water (at least an inch). Yes, the ice box drains into the bilge.

We also have a slight leak in the rudder shaft when sailing in rough seas so the water that comes in also goes into the bilge.

I have never seen it completely dry except after cleaning.

Donna


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Catalina 30 TRBS
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-18-2011
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I have read that there is evidence that water sitting in the bilge is a cause of osmotic blistering. I've never been convinced of this but I'm not a researcher. I have about 1/2" of water in my bilge constantly no matter how hard I try to eliminate the sources. My bilge pump doesn't cycle more than once a week, if that (I have a cycle counter on it). I should also note that I have never had a single blister on my 34 year old boat which is not barrier coated.
Regardless of this, a dry bilge is desirable. If your icebox is draining into the bilge, why not just redirect the drain hose into a container like a 1 or 2 gallon jug or tank? I don't like ice-boxes draining into the bilge just because I don't want smelly junk in there.

Mark Smith
1977 C&C 30 Mk 1 hailing from Port Clinton, Ohio
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-18-2011
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We keep our food in locked containers so rarely is anything but melting ice going into the bilge.

Also, the water lubricating the cutlass bearing will go into the bilge. I forgot about that one.

Jet, do you have a manual setting on your electric panel? When you push it and release, does the bilge pump go on? Another way to reassure yourself is simply to take a bucket of clean water or your dock hose and start filling it with clean water until it clicks on.

As long as the water is clean, we don't worry about it during the season and just make sure that it's dry for winter storage.

Donna


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post #5 of 11 Old 08-18-2011
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I would simply trace the drain hose from the ice box and see if it tees into the sink drain and goes overboard, or if it dumps to the bilge.

If it tees into the sink drain, and your unsure of the source of the water, just dab a tiny bit on your tounge to see if it's salty or fresh. If it's fresh, you may have a rain leak somewhere. As was said, don't forget that your stuffing box will drip into the bilge. You might check that it drips at the proper rate.

Lastly, for getting that last bit of water out of the bilge, a small wet/dry vac is great. That's what I use.

S/V Old Shoes
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-18-2011
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I would trace the icebox drain to see where it goes - likely the bilge. But a T into the sink drain will not work as the bottom of the icebox is probably below the waterline - the icebox would have water in it. Either a pump to allow you to move the water to the sink or a jug that can be emptied is a good plan.

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post #7 of 11 Old 08-18-2011
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I'd second the recommendation, trace the drain line to make sure it is going into the bilge. As opposed to leaking, cracked, etc. into the bilge or another water source. As the owner, part of your job is 9eventually!) knowing every inch of the boat, especially the inches you can't easily see.
I wouldn't just replace the bilge pump if it works. If you want insurance, add a second pump, because all the electric bilge pumps fail, sooner or later. With two you double your odds of having at least one working. And new wiring that hasn't been waterlogged or given a chance to corrode is a bonus.

The best trick I've seen with an icebox drain, was to add a manual pump (either hand pump or foot pump) at the galley sink, and plumb the icebox drain to that pump. We used to put the stopper in the sink, pump the ice water into it, and use that to keep drinks cold for the day. Kept the bilge dry, made good use of the ice water. If you don't want to do that, consider getting a blivet (flexible tank) or asking your local diner for one of the five gallon blivets they use in their milk machines. (They are food grade, heavy plastic, but come filled with milk & get thrown out when empty.)
Rinse it out, run the drain hose into the blivet, and that way you can still catch the drain water in the bilge--while keeping the bilge dry. Just dump it out when you add more ice.
Damp bilge is a bad idea. Crud grows in it, keel bolts corrode, you can't always keep it bone dry but you can keep it less wet.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-18-2011
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On our old Columbia we had several things draining into the bilge. The shower and the ice box were the two culprits that I was determined to alleviate. Major yuck!

I installed a shower sump and plumbed it to the galley sink. I have installed refrigeration, so not much to worry about regarding the ice box, but I will end up plumbing that into a "T" on the shower sump so that we can defrost/clean the fridge without having to clean the bilge.

Consider plumbing to your shower sump if you have one, and installing one of you don't.

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1976 41' Morgan Out Island Sloop. Refitting and redoing her interior for an extended voyage.
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-18-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks all, we have a dripless shaft seal so I dont think thats not the source of the water. I have seen the Catalina plumbing drawings and they show the ice box and shower draining to the bilge. The bilge pump is a Rule mate without a manual switch, I bought a new one at the suggestion of our surveyor. It sound like the amount of water we have is pretty normal, I guess I just need to find a quick and easy way to pump it out.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-18-2011
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Also on the Catalinas, there is a drain hole under the steering quarant that gets clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned out. It drains out the transom. I put a hose in the drain hole every so often to clean it.
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