SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Went to button up the boat last night after a day of sailing/surfing and I flipped the bilge pump on for kicks. It usually runs only for a few seconds before sucking air. The bilge is normally very dry. Well the pump kept running for awhile to the point where I rolled up the rug and took a look. The bilge was full to the brim! WTF! I immediately start looking for a leak or anything out of place or someting. But there was nothing. The blge pumped dry and that was that. I went back this morning to take a look and the bilge water was at the same level. No new water. Im trying to figure out how the hell the water got there and I can only think of two things. FW holding tank leaked or water came in through the bilge pump discharge line. Didnt check the water holding tank, but I dont think its that. I think its came in from the bilge discharge line. Here's why. I had the boat anchored up in some 4-5 foot ocean swells. Wasn't really open ocean, but Bill threw in some waves where there usually arent. So anyway, the swells were pushing water up over the bilge discharge through hull and I think the water got in that way. Or, because we had a following sea on the way back, the same thing could have happend.

What do you think?? Ill be checking the FW holding tank when I get home to confirm its not that. If its the bilge line, is there a check valve I can put in or something?

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
you may want to check the shaft as well. We had a similar experience early on with intermittent filling of the bilge, PO had installed a drip-less seal that worked GREAT when sitting in the slip. When underway though... only found it as one day there was an odd noise and pulled the covers off while underway, whole engine compartment was a cloud with a radial spray going on at the shaft. A new, quality drip less seal solved all problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
No float switch (thats on the list). You just throw the switch on the panel. Im pretty in tune (I thought) with how much is a normal amount of water in the bilge. I checked the shaft seal when I first got her in the spring, just because I had no idea how it worked. It would drip a little while motoring. Its supposed to drip a little, right? Anyway, Ill have to check that again I guess. Unless that thing was flowing good though, it seemed like too much water in there too fast to be from it. Going to check now. Thanks for the tips. Ill report back later.
-Shawn
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
i had a very simular experince with my boat a few years ago,i had recently installed a lot of extra equipment [weight]at or near the stern,hmmm just enough to make the boat set a little lower in the water,when the bilge pump kicked on and shut back off the hose would occasionaly siphon sea water back into the bilge,instead of drilling another hole through the hull at a higher point,i opted to have the bilge discharge into the cockpit
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
98 Posts
How is your cockpit drained? On my boat the 2 drains have short runs of hose run to the stern. I just replaced one of them because of chafe that would have eventually allowed the hose to leak into the bilge instead have the water flow into the ocean.

Also, if this happens again (I hope it dosn't), try to check the water before pumping it overboard. Seawater smells different than freshwater or contents from your holding tank. After I made sure it's not the (wastewater-) holdingtank, I would actually taste a minute amount to figure out whether it is seawater or freshwater.
Make sure to make your floatswitch highest priority. Even a very small leak can sink your boat in the slip within a couple of days!
Hope you find the source soon.
 

·
Señor Member
Joined
·
1,457 Posts
i wouldn't use a check valve or vented loop because they could become fouled with debris and no longer work
I agree with your take on the check valve, but strongly disagree on the vented loop.

Unless the bilge pump discharge is WELL above the waterline (and above the max heeled waterline) there's always the possibility of a siphon forming and filling your bilge with seawater. Although an anti-siphon valve can become fouled either with debris or more often simple salt crystals, they are realtively easy to clean and keep functional.

Bottom line is that if you've got a drain line originating below the waterline that discharges overboard anywhere below the max heeled waterline, you are going to need some type of anti-siphon device to keep backflow from sinking your boat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Well, the water level still seemed normal. I followed the discharge line to the thru hull and it seems to be a vented loop. The line runs aft through the bilge and under the cockpit where it runs up in a loop and back down to the thru hull. there is something spliced in (presumably an anti siphon vent) at the top of the loop. I didnt crawl all the way in there to take a close look, I just took a shower. I guess Ill go back and take a better look.

I did have my wife fire up the motor and put her in gear at idle to see if water was spewing from the shaft seal. It was not, but did seem to drip more than I remember it. Maybe a drip every two or three seconds?

Two cockpit drains that run aft to two thru hulls above the waterline. Just changed those hoses earlier this summer.

Checked the FW holding tank and its fine.

I dunno. Let me ask this... when I run the bilge pump until it sucks air and shut it off, some water rushes back it. I guess thats what didnt make it over the loop. Is that normal or a symptom? Otherwise Im kinda stumped.

I will get a float switch tommorow. I went to buy a float switch a few weeks ago but didn't have the model # handy. Apparently that matters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,077 Posts
sure you can clean a vented loop,no problem,but the problem is getting your boat raised off the bottem so you can get to it.you won't know its fouled until its too late
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
928 Posts
Rule #1?

Two cockpit drains that run aft to two thru hulls above the waterline. Just changed those hoses earlier this summer.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,830 Posts
While pounding in nasty summer chop on S.F. Bay Frolic would take on water. I turned around, and went down wind, and no water. Turned around again to beat, and more water. Fortunately the bilge pump could keep up. Turned downwind, and sailed home.
Pulled Frolic out of the water, and the front keel bolt had broken. I can only assume pounding to windward would open it up, but smooth sailing downwind it would stay closed? Just some food for thought........i2f
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Forgive me, but what rule#1?

Got a float switch. So the way Im set up now, I have to turn the power on (1,2 or all) in order to turn on the bilge. It has a dedicated switch on the panel. If I just throw the float switch in line, that means Ill have to leave the power on in order for it to work. I don't have shore power, so I dont really like the idea of doing that. Do I rewire the bilge pump directly to the battery, and if so, which one? Or do I just leave the power on?

Thanks for the help folks.

-Shawn
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
143 Posts
Wire the bilge pump through the float valve directly (with a proper amp fuse) to the battery you use as the "house" battery. It will still work if all the power is switched off. You can still start the engine on the other battery. If you find the house battery is low after you've been away from the boat it is probably because you have a slow leak or rain is getting in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
49 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Roger that.

Took a sail this evening. Still normal level of water in the bilge. Took a closer look at the keel bolts and seem ok, but now Im slightly freaked out about that having a late 80's vintage 31' Oday and the keels apparently ripping out, so I guess Ill put a torque wrench on the ones I can get to when it gets hauled this fall and see whats up.

I also tasted the bilge water as suggested (really??!!) and it was definately seawater. Still thinking it came through the bilge discharge line perhaps. I did notice that while under sail this evening (10 knot wind, head sail only, close hauled) the bilge discharge thru hull is below the water line. Just barely. Usually sits 6-8" above the water line at the dock.

Still wondering what the heck happend...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
266 Posts
On an older Yanmar, since replaced, we had a pencil zinc corrode through the water muffler and took on a lot of water. have you checked this?
 

·
Regular Member
Joined
·
68 Posts
Here is one more thing you can do. I installed a 12VDC counter in line with the bildge pump/float switch. This way, when I come back to the boat after a week away, i can see the exact amount of times it came on. I reset it when I leave for a long period and I write down my findings in the Log whenever it's abnormal. So far so good. It cost me about $14.00 at H.R. DISTRIBUTORS, Inc..

Also, the time you pumped the boat out, it could have been fresh water.... keep your eye on the mast if you have a keel stepped mast and an eye on all the port holes..
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top