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An integral part of any boat design, for centuries bilge pumps have provided an important function for collecting seawater or rainwater that is sloshing around on your deck.

Having a bilge pump on board relieves the need to pump out water by hand.

Once the water is collected, it is usually contained onboard in a bilge tank before its emptied into the water.

Along with technological advances, bilge pumps on boats and ships have also evolved and are now made of plastic instead of bronze and wood and include an electric motor instead of being run by hand.

Bilge pumps can vary in their type and number of features, so it will depend on the size of your boat and its needs as to which bilge pump is the best for you.

Here are a few tips and reviews to help you find the best automatic boat bilge pump for your boat.

Why do automatic boats need bilge pumps?

It can be hard and sweaty work to check your bilge tank the old-fashioned way.

A bilge pump can be installed with very little effort, and it ensures that your bilge tank, or tanks, are emptied automatically when they reach a specific level.

Just make sure you periodically check your bilge pump to make sure it is clear of buildup and debris.

Otherwise, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about it.

Having the right bilge pump can make a major difference in your boat maintenance schedule.

While it may seem like a minor part of a boat, you won’t realize how important it really is until it breaks.

Types of bilge pumps

Diaphragm Electrical Pump

The standard and typical bilge pump that you will find on any boat, the diaphragm Electrical Pump sucks water out of the bottom of your vessel.

Acting like a vacuum, this type of bilge pump will push water up to a discharge point.

It also self-primes, so it isn’t that portable and needs more maintenance, but it won’t cause a lot of damage.

Centrifugal Electrical Pump

Operating as a turbine, the Centrifugal Electrical Pump uses kinetic energy and comes with a high draining capacity.

This is an affordable and easy to store and maintain bilge pump and is a little more popular than a diaphragm electrical pump.

Advantages of a Bilge Pump

To take advantage of the benefits of using a bilge pump, you need to make sure you have chosen the right type of bilge pump.

These are a few of the benefits of using a bilge pump on your boat.

  • Free Space — Both types of bilge pumps were created to work underwater. Make sure to consider safety first when placing the bilge pump, but it should be small enough that you can put it pretty much anywhere on the bottom of the boat just like you would a boat anchor.
  • Cost — Typically, a bilge pump is not very expensive. You can find many decent pumps at a good price. Inexpensive pumps will do the same job as an expensive one, just make sure you have chosen the right type of pump for the size of the boat you have and the size of its engine.
  • Portability — Easy to move, the bilge water pump should be stored somewhere besides the boat when you are not using it. Many of these bilge pumps can be stored for long periods of time without having to worry about damage.
  • Security — If you have a working bilge pump on your boat, you can feel more secure as you sail. It can get dangerous really fast when you have any type of water at the bottom of your boat. Safety is one of the main advantages when you have the correct type of bilge pump on your boat. Remember, it is also important to check that your bilge pump is working before you head out on your boat.

Disadvantages of using a bilge pump

Everything comes with some disadvantages.

These are a few disadvantages to keep in mind when using a bilge pump that will help you keep your boat safe.

  • Theft — While a bilge pump can be comfortable to be stored and lifted, it is also an easy item to steal off of a boat. You want to make sure you keep your bilge pump safe from everyone around you. Even though they are pretty cheap, it can still put you in a dangerous situation if you are caught without one.
  • Size and Maintenance — It’s important to make sure you pay attention to how the bilge pump is working and how large it is. If you have the wrong size, whether it’s too big or too small, it won’t work as well, which can possibly lead you into trouble.
  • Dangerous Situations — Also, remember that it is important to have two water pumps on board. That way, if one becomes damaged, you will still have a good one as a backup that can be used in the event of a breakdown.

Best Automatic Boat Bilge Pump

There are a number of bilge pump options that may work well for use with an automatic boat.

It’s important to always consult an industry professional before using any new product with your boat to ensure it is safe and appropriate.

SEAFLO Automatic Submersible Boat Bilge Water Pump 12v 750GPH Auto with Float Switch

Ideal for emergency situations, the SEAFLO Boat Bilge Water Pump features a flow rate of 750 gallons per hour.

It will allow you to completely submerge it and won’t let you down halfway through.

This is a fully automatic bilge pump that is effective and efficient at removing boat bilge water.

The SEAFLO Boat Bilge Water Pump does not need a separate float switch due to its built-in magnetic float switch.

This means that you won’t be able to use any power until you activate the pump using the internal float switch.

Made with high-quality materials, the SEAFLO Bilge Pump features a stainless-steel shaft along with strong plastic housing to ensure durability.

With this new design, you have easier service and maintenance that does not require disconnecting the hosing or unscrewing the strainer base.

You get easy access by just pushing in the two side table and lifting off the white casing. Plus, reassembly is just as simple.

This rust-proof, watertight, and corrosion-resistant bilge pump can be used in both saltwater and freshwater.

Featuring several features, the SEAFLO Boat Bilge Water Pump includes ignition protection, a float-switch test button, and an electronically controlled reed sensor system.

This versatile bilge pump also comes with manual override, as well.

View at Amazon to learn more about how this product could work for you.


  • It is very quiet as it runs
  • You won’t feel any vibrations from this unit
  • It is easy to service and maintain


  • It will turn off automatically when the level of water has dropped significantly

Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump

One of the more compact units available, the Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump is perfect for anyone that doesn’t have a lot of space on your boat.

Capable of pumping 600 gallons an hour, this is a great choice for small boats that still need a pretty impressive capacity.

This bilge pump is submersible in water and is ignition protected and meets USCG requirements.

The Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump is equipped with high-quality tinned wire ends as well as automatic operation, thanks to its internal float switch.

This is a necessary safety accessory for any boat, plus it is really easy to install and doesn’t need a lot of maintenance.

Made with stainless steel hardware, this bilge pump is safe to use in saltwater and has long marine-grade wiring that lets you move it around your boat.

With quiet operation, the Shoreline Marine Bilge Pump isn’t annoying as it works.

While it does need manual operation, this bilge pump still gives you a good value for your money, especially since you can install a float switch so you can make it into an automatic boat bilge pump.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product could work for you.


  • It comes with a universal mount
  • It has super-quiet operation
  • This is a lightweight bilge pump that is easy to install.


  • It isn’t as durable as some of its competitors

Rule 25S-Marine 500 Automatic Marine Bilge Pump

Perfect for a small boat the Rule 25S-Marine 500 Automatic Bilge Pump is super easy to maintain and install.

Instead of using an external or internal float switch, this bilge pump measures the water pressure against the impellers and determines when it needs to activate.

Periodically, it will draw on the electrical system as it checks the bilge level, but you won’t have to be concerned about the sensor wearing out quickly.

Automatically operating by sensing for water, the Rule 25S-Marine 500 Automatic Bilge Pump features an exclusive design and more pumping capacity than its competitors.

And, it costs less than many of the other pumps on the market.

This bilge pump is very popular for use on small watercraft and is unmatched when it comes to longevity and pumping power.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product could work for you.


  • It features an innovative pressure sensor for activation
  • The centrifugal pump design makes it a great choice for small bilge spaces
  • There is more than enough flow to empty a small bilge space


  • This isn’t a good choice for large or deep keeled bilge boats
  • This is not a self-priming centrifugal pump, and it must be submerged to work

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