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01-22-2013 04:07 PM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

Stiffwind's experience with a pressure water problem is far from unique. A friend of mine was heading south on the ICW and realized at some point that something was wrong. It was a plumbing failure that emptied over 200 gallons into the bilge--and then some.

I used to have an older Jabsco diaphragm pump that was bulletproof, but noisy. I replaced it with a newer design that is self-regulating--meaning it stops pumping when the pressure goes up, like when all the outlets are off. It's also very quiet. After a couple of times when a tank was emptied and the pump continued to run for an indefinite time, I now shut off the pump at the panel when we are not using water. That includes when we go ashore.
01-22-2013 12:38 AM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

That is just my own rule developed based upon my novice experiences. Besides the incident related in my recent posts, there was another incident when I was sailing down from Rhode Island to Jersey. Stopped in Liberty Landing. December 2011. More **** happens in cold weather it seems. Anyway, she was docked in slip for the night. We were staying on the boat. Went up to a resturant for dinner and I really didn't see the need to worry about shutting most of the systems down. Before this I had not particularly worried about leaving the water pressure on if I left the boat for a short time. When I returned from dinner I heard that awful sound of water running on the boat and when I found the source it was a head sink pipe (many of my water pipes around galley and head sink are copper) that had just separated at a joint...obviously assisted by the system pressure, and water had already filled my sink cabinent before overflowing onto the head floor and into the bilge.
You can see where it just makes sense to me to pay attention to the water pressure status, especially in older boats because stuff breaks. No big deal...but real trouble usually comes when more than one system malfunctions at the same time. So now I turn off water pressure unless someone is below using the water, but when I'm sailing especially in heavy seas or motor sailing, it's hard to hear the warnings of bilge or other water problems. I imagine more experienced sailors figured out that rule long before I did!
01-21-2013 10:17 PM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
That is pretty cool, but for $1,200, it has some serious "marine" markup in it.

Another is Aqua Eye, but at about the same price as the Boat Nanny.

MCD's BoatSense is a little more palatable at $685. It doesn't appear to have its own proprietary switches, rather a few normally open or normally closed circuits, allowing you to use an off the shelf float switch, etc.

All of these require some type of monitoring charge at around $200/year.
01-21-2013 04:39 PM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

Originally Posted by RocketScience View Post
Some might call this just another toy. I would call it peace of mind (especially if I was on a mooring):

Boat Nanny
That is pretty cool, but for $1,200, it has some serious "marine" markup in it.
01-21-2013 04:23 PM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

Some might call this just another toy. I would call it peace of mind (especially if I was on a mooring):

Boat Nanny
01-21-2013 02:12 PM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

General rule is to shut off the fresh water pressure switch when underway. If a hose breaks while you are at anchor, you will most likely hear the bilge pump running and be able to save your water supply. If it breaks underway, you may be out of FW before you realize. Depending on where you are cruising, that may be either an inconvenience or a serious problem.

If we need water underway, we turn it on, then back off again.
01-21-2013 01:32 PM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

Here is what I am thinking on the subject. I essentially learned this by going through all the bilge threads on SN. Wow, incredible source of info. I took the best ideas so I came up with a plan.

My current system really sucks, a single Rule centrifugal with with check valve three feet from the pump. And there is a good twenty foot run to the stern. It does have a good high position in the line for anti siphon though.

A. New primary bilge. A Whale diaphragm type with a small strainer in the deepest part of the bilge and the pump located three feet away. 300 GPH. It has an integrated float switch and check valve at the strainer. 3/4" Bilge line to the transom.

B. The current Rule will become secondary. Mounted about six inches above the strainer of the new primary pump. Remove the check valve from the Rule bilge hose. 1100 GPH

C. Add a tertiary 2000 GPH near the engine compartment. Johnson centrifugal 2000. No check valve. Water Witch switch with an outside alarm. 1.5" bilge line to the transom.

I do have a manual system in place currently, an important fact.

It's amazing what you can learn on this site.
01-21-2013 12:31 PM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?


I wasn't aware that you shouldn't have pressurized water on under sail? Is that a general rule, or with your system in particular.

Does your bilge counter count the number of times that the unit comes on or the volume of water it's pumped out?
01-21-2013 11:58 AM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

IMHO, any bilge system also should have a counter, to show you small problems before they get big, and audible alarm.
One human error incident involved water pipe bursting, mistakenly leaving water pressure on when sailing single-handed, and the main bilge switch turne off. As I was leaving boat on dock, I heard noise of water running and could not believe the noise was coming from my boat because I new all power was off. Turns out it was before I finished hooking up my emergency hi capacity hose...but I had the pump and electronic switch installed. So the electronic switch was triggered because the water had risen to mid-level since the main bilge was off, and the hi capacity bilge was just blowing the water around in the bilge which was the noise I that would have run my batteries to 0 since the pump would have never shut off because water level was not being lowered.
Anyway, very good idea to pay close attention to your bilge BEFORE the stars line up to create an emergency.
01-21-2013 11:48 AM
Re: Bilges - On vs. Automatic; Capacity?

After a few scares with the boat taking on while sailing and another at the dock (both because of human error and all the stars lining up to result in emergency) I reworked my bilge to maximize GPH as follows:

First, my main bilge pump is and remains a Rule 3000 GPH on a separate float switch, with a 3/4 hose, and wired directly to house batteries using the standard Manual, Auto, Off switch.
Next, I saw that my manual cockpit bilge pump had a 1 1/2 hose running to the bilge. So I disconnected the hose, put a Y-connection in a cockpit drain hose that runs under my cockpit and drains out the hull, and connected the 1 1/2 hose that was connected to my cockpit manual pump to the Y-connection. Then I connected a Rule 4,500 GPH pump to the other end of that larger hose in my bilge, but I mounted the pump on a fiberglass base so that it sits about 5 inches off the bilge floor (that way it doesn't sit in bilge water at any time). Instead of using another float switch, I connected the hi capacity pump to a electronic sensor switch that I mounted about half way up the side wall in the bilge. This way, the hi capacity pump is only triggered in emergency situation where the water infiltration to too much for main bilge to handle, or the main bilge fails. This configuration also saves my emergency hi capacity pump from doing the small stuff and using power except when really needed.
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