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When you’re off-shore and water gets into your boat, you need to get it back out swiftly.
Water may get into the bilge through a leaky portlight, through the propeller shaft packing gland, as well as other sources.
But why the urgency to get water out?
Well, when you let water accumulate in the bilge, you should expect some negative effects on your boat.
For starters, the water could lift spilled fuel and distribute it over the bilge, affecting the insulation of your boat’s electrical wiring.
It can also destabilize your boat.
And worse even, your boat could sink.
To avoid these detrimental outcomes, you need to get the best off-shore bilge pump.
In this article, we will show you why you need to get a bilge pump, and things to look out for.
We’ll also review several products to make things easier for you when you’re in the market for one.
What is a bilge pump?
A bilge pump is used to remove nuisance water or unwanted water from the bilge.
The water gets into the bilge from hull leaks, rain, rough waves, and waves.
You will find several types and sizes of bilge pumps out there.
So, it’s best you get one that’s suited to your boat.
However, you must keep in mind that the bilge pump is meant to handle small quantities of water.
Offshore boats require automatic electric bilge pumps, which have to be situated in each bilge area – some boats have multiple compartments.
These boats also require a large manual pump, which acts as a backup.
Types of bilge pumps
When you’re out on the market looking for bilge pumps, you’ll come across several types.
Two of the main types include:
- Centrifugal pumps
- Diaphragm pumps
Centrifugal pumps are economical, low maintenance, and they are quite effective in pumping out nuisance water.
Better yet, these pumps are less sensitive to incidental debris and flotsam.
Centrifugal pumps can also run dry over extended periods without getting damaged.
However, this feature brings about significant wear to the bearing, which may eventually lead to pump failure.
This type of pump also doesn’t have much power to push water vertically.
On the other hand, you’ll find diaphragm pumps. They operate by pulling water in through an intake valve like a vacuum cleaner.
They then forcefully discharge the water through an output facility that’s meant for this purpose.
Overall, diaphragm pumps perform a better job at forcing water vertically compared to centrifugal pumps.
However, they cannot push out as much water as their counterparts, even if they’re of the same size.
Additionally, they get easily affected by debris that is left unattended. The debris leads to blockages, which eventually damage the pump.
But you could add a filter before the pump to get rid of the debris and minimize the risk of failure.
The importance of an off-shore bilge pump
A bilge pump is essential to prevent your boat from sinking. When a boat sinks, it could result in the loss of lives of those aboard, as well as your equipment.
Experts recommend that you get an off-shore bilge pump that’s suited to your type and size of boat.
Overall, these pumps will help you get rid of nuisance water from the bilge.
Better yet, they give you enough time to find the leak and plug it.
If the damage is too big, then the people on board will have enough time to put on their lifebuoys and abandon ship when it necessitates.
That said, a bilge pump is a worthy investment, especially if you travel offshore or in deeper waters often.
In such cases, you must also make sure to have a backup pump. It could save your vessel from sinking.
What to consider when buying a bilge pump
One thing you need to know is that you’ll come across plenty of bilge pumps in the market.
But here’s the thing: Not every bilge is suitable for your boat.
As a result, you need to make several considerations to ensure you get equipment that can save your boat from sinking.
Here are the most important things.
Type of boat
Before you pick a bilge pump, you must factor in the type of boat you have.
Usually, open boats experience a lot of splash from rainwater or wave action.
As a result, they’re more susceptible to flooding as opposed to closed boats.
Therefore, you should choose a bilge pump that has a larger capacity for open boats as opposed to closed boats.
Get a pump that will effectively get the water off the bilge to prevent sinking.
Besides the type of boat, you must also consider the size of your boat. Different bilge pumps work for different boat sizes.
Keeping in mind that safety is paramount, you need to get a pump that matches up to your boat’s size.
Needless to say, the larger the boat, the larger the bilge pump capacity needed.
Why is this the case?
Well, larger boats will most likely have more water infiltration, while smaller boats get most nuisance water from wave action.
Moreover, larger boats will most likely experience more damage from a collision than their counterparts.
Luckily, you’ll find catalogs that indicate the pump capacity suited for different sizes of boats. Make sure to adhere.
Manual or electric power pumps?
When you go deeper into the waters, you must make sure to have a reliable bilge pump.
Now, you’ll find that most people go for high-capacity centrifugal pumps because they’re easy to install, plus they’re economically priced.
However, these pumps become ineffective when your boat’s electrical system fails.
And this will most likely happen when your boat takes in too much water.
Consequently, it’s advisable to have an additional high-capacity manual pump to your electric pump.
However, operating a manual pump is quite tedious.
So, you need to make sure to consider the ergonomics of the pump plus the gallons per stroke.
Moreover, you need to consider the location where it will get installed to make operating it relatively easier.
Best Off-Shore Bilge Pump
We’ve chosen two bilge pump options to highlight here that may work well for off-shore use.
It’s important to always consult an industry professional before using any new product with your boat to ensure it’s safe and appropriate for what you need.
MAXZONE Automatic Submersible Boat Bilge Water Pump 12v 1100gph Auto with Float Switch (Blue – Automatic)
If you’re looking for a bilge pump for your boat, then you might want to have a look at this device.
The pump comes with a built-in electronically controlled reed sensor system, which gives it a fully automatic operation.
It also has an impressive flow rate of 1100 GPH.
As if that’s not enough, the pump has a built-in float switch, which you flick whenever you want to start pumping out water.
It also has a power output of 12V, and that’s enough to perform its functions.
Moreover, its bottom is removable, allowing you to screw it to any part on your boat before placing it back to its place.
You also need not worry about taking it off-shore because it has a sturdy and compact build.
It’s made of high-impact durable plastic and has a stainless steel shaft.
Yes. It’s resistant to rust and corrosion.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for you.
- Includes safety features to protect it against high currents and airlocks
- Has a built-in float switch
- Resistant against corrosion and rust
- Very affordable
- Has a silent operation
- Sturdy build
attwood 4507-7 Sahara Bilge Pump – 750 GPH
Next up, we have the Attwood 4507-7.
It is an effective bilge pump, which you might rely on to get rid of excess water on your boat.
The pump is made of high-quality materials.
It has a stainless steel shaft, a permanent-magnet motor, and a steel-reinforced seal, which guarantees durable performance.
The pump comes in three different sizes, and it comes with a 36-inch length of 16-gauge tinned copper wire.
The wire allows you to connect it to your boat’s electrical outlets seamlessly.
It has a flow rate of 750 GPH at open flow with a power output of 12 volts. Intriguingly, it’s easy to install, and you can also fit it in tight spaces.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product could potentially work for you.
View at Amazon for more information on how this product could work for you.
- Easy to install
- Has a compact design, allowing you to fit it in tight spaces
- Has a sturdy construction for durable performance
- Has a permanent-magnet motor
When you go off-shore with your boat, excess water may get in through leaks, rain, and wave action, among other things.
It’s crucial that you remove the nuisance water quickly to avoid detrimental effects, and the best way to accomplish that is through a bilge pump.
However, there are plenty of products out there, and they may make your purchase decision more hectic.
To get the best off-shore bilge pump, you must factor in things such as the boat size, the type of boat, and the source of power.
Overall, a good bilge pump can save your boat and life when you’re out in the deep waters.
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