Bilge pump drains into cockpit?? - SailNet Community

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Old 04-04-2012
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Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

Is this normal? My Bilge pump drains into the cockpit. I just bought the boat a couple months ago and when I did, the cockpit drains were clogged with barnacles, dog hair, plastic pieces, candy wrappers etc. Its a good thing we had not gotten much rain this year!
I have always owned powerboats so maybe this is a sailboat thing? In any case, Ill be routing a more powerful one over the side during my haul out next month. Just thought this was weird and a recipe for disaster.
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Old 04-04-2012
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

Maybe not ideal, but, another on this forum pointed out that you will probably know when your pump is running!
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Old 04-04-2012
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

Some folks think that routing the bilge pump to the cockpit gives them a pretty foolproof indication that the pump is running. However, in addition to the issues you raise above, there are a couple of other problems. First, even with clear, free-flowing cockpit drains, pumping bilge water into the cockpit delays getting the water and it's associated weight off of the boat. If the boat gets pooped or broaches, and the cockpit has to drain, adding water from the bilge isn't going to help matters. And, if there isn't a sufficient bridge-deck, pumping into the cockpit could just lead to more water spilling back into the cabin. Second, what if the water in the bilge is coming from a leaky cockpit drain hose/fitting? Pumping the bilge into the cockpit isn't going to accomplish much in such a situation.

If one wants to know that the bilge pump is running (not a bad bit of info to have), just rig a little indictor LED in the forward part of the cockpit. You may not notice it every time the pump activates, but if there is some sort of problem and the pump keeps cycling, you'll notice the light sooner or later.
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Old 04-04-2012
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

Another consideration is if you have any oil in your bilge, it will coat the cockpit sole.

Needless to say, a greasy cockpit sole is a bad thing.
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Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

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Needless to say, a greasy cockpit sole is a bad thing.
Gee, that just sounds like the start of an interesting evening to me.
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Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

I've got two bilge pumps, set up just like the sage, Don Casey, recommends in Good Old Boat.

One is manual, the original, and pumps out a through-hull in the transom, just above the waterline, where Catalina in its infinite wisdom placed it.

The second is mounted higher in the bilge, is electric with a float switch. It's there to buy time in case of a collision. Not to empty occasional rainwater or propshaft seepage.

When running the outlet hose from the 'emergency' pump, I decided against adding yet another hole in the transom. Hooking it up with a Y connection to the existing hose from the other pump might have induced back flow through the manual pump. Hence, it exits into the cockpit, just above the floor, where very large scuppers can handle whatever flow.

Plus, if my feet suddenly get wet, I know I have a Problem.
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Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

Normal, no, but "it seemed like a good idea at the time" probably comes to mind. Pumping water into the cockpit doesn't get it out of the boat but it means shorter hose runs and someone might have thought that was a good idea.

Then again, MOST cockpit drains on MOST production boats are woefully undersized in any case.
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Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

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Originally Posted by jjablonowski View Post
One is manual, the original, and pumps out a through-hull in the transom, just above the waterline, where Catalina in its infinite wisdom placed it.
There is nothing wrong with a bilge outlet near the waterline - but the hose should loop as high as the space allows before the downward run to the exit.

My maintenance pump exits into the cockpit just above a drain as well for the same reason - less holes. My cockpit drains are not what they should be so during haulout I am adding a through transom drain of about 3" - that should improve drain time.
I will be adding a larger electric pump which will have its own exit in the transom.
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Old 04-06-2012
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

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Normal, no, but "it seemed like a good idea at the time" probably comes to mind. Pumping water into the cockpit doesn't get it out of the boat but it means shorter hose runs and someone might have thought that was a good idea.
My "seemed like a good idea at the time" was really stupid. I wanted a short run, and didn't want to put another hole in the boat, so I put a 'Y' in the sink drain. I then realized I couldn't close the sink drain seacock when away, and the connection was way closer to the waterline than it should be. Stupid. Going through the transom this spring.
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Re: Bilge pump drains into cockpit??

No matter what you do it winds up being a hole in the boat, which many folks have mixed feelings about. Of course, if you have good power, you can run a nice little ten kilowatt laser to just evaporate the bilge water and exhaust it out the dorades. (VBG)

Or you train a family of hamsters "Drink down there, then go pee topside".
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