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Installing a bilge pump can be a chore, but, if you have a good process to follow, you can easily figure out the steps to take.

So, we’ve put together this step by step guide to help you learn how to install a bilge pump in an aluminum boat.

We hope that this guide makes this process easier for you so that you can get back to what you love most, enjoying the water.

How to install a bilge pump in aluminum boat

When you’re installing a bilge pump on an aluminum boat, you have to take a few extra precautions. 

The process is very similar to installing a bilge pump on other types of boats, but there are a few differences when you’re working with aluminum.

In this case, you really have to pay attention to the details. It’s also important to consult an industry professional before attempting this process yourself to ensure you’re doing so safely and appropriately.

Step 1: Mount the bilge pump.

Before you can work with wiring or hoses connected to your bilge pump, you must first install the unit itself.

Mounting the bilge pump ensures that it is securely fastened to your boat so that it stays out of your way. 

This is also an imperative step to help your bilge pump work properly. 

If the bilge pump is not secured, it’s likely to fall over a burn out, ruining the internal components.

Also fasten down the float switch at this time, if applicable.

If you want to install a bilge pump on an aluminum boat, you are most likely dealing with a jon boat.

If so, you don’t want to drill through the hull if you can avoid this. 

However, you still need to mount the bilge pump so that it is securely held in place.

So, choose a location where your bilge pump will be useful, yet out of the way.

Once you decide on a location for your bilge pump, simply screw it into the hull of your boat. 

Or, if possible, secure it to the inside of the boat using existing brackets.

If you do drill into the hull, you may want to apply caulk around the breakpoints to protect against water infiltration.

To minimize the damage to your hull, use the smallest screws that you can. 

A bilge pump for an aluminum boat is probably quite small, so it will not take up substantial space. 

This may allow you to hide it in inconspicuous locations. 

In a small boat, maximizing space is imperative, so place your bilge pump well! 

Many boaters choose to place the bilge pump in a ridge on the bottom of the boat so that it meshes with the boat’s profile. 

If your bilge pump is small enough, this placement may minimize the tripping hazard associated with adding equipment to your boat.

Step 2: Install the bore hose

Once the bilge pump is initially fastened to your boat, install and place the bore hose.

Use a smooth bore hose, not a corrugated hose. 

While your small aluminum bilge pump setup is rather simple compared to larger boats, using a smooth bore hose is still best practice.

Smooth bore hoses help your bilge pump run efficiently and maximize its operation.

When you are working with a bilge pump on an aluminum boat, you probably won’t want to drill a hole in the hull for the bore hose.

While this is standard practice when installing a bilge pump on larger boats, it’s better to keep your jon boat hull in one piece if possible.

So, rather than removing water through the hull, orient your hose so that it removes water over the side of the boat. 

As always, keep the discharge line above the water line.

You can usually achieve this by tethering your bilge hose to the side of the boat and angling it over the edge. 

However, be sure to secure the bore hose well. 

Also, install the hose so that water easily clears the side of the boat. 

You do not want to pump water from your boat only to pour it back in!

Similarly, make sure that your hose is short enough that it does not dip down into the water.

Step 3: Connect the wires

At this point, you are ready to connect the wires from the bilge pump to your boat battery. 

Again, on a small boat, it’s important to keep wires out of the way.

A good strategy is to attach the wires to the bottom and side of your boat.

You can use clips, permanent tape, or another method to secure the wires; just make sure that they are out of the way.  

To minimize wire length, place your bilge pump and battery as close together as you can. 

However, due to your boat setup, you may simply have to deal with long wires.

Your wiring, battery, and connections will be very exposed on an aluminum boat. 

So, you must make sure that you have extremely tight connections.

To support the electronics system, secure wire connections with butt connectors and heat shrink.

These steps will help protect your wiring from the elements. 

Include a fuse in the positive side of the wiring, and use a crimp butt connector to secure the junction.

At this point, you can install a three way switch if you like. 

However, if this is not applicable to your situation, don’t worry about this step.

We hope that this discussion benefits your bilge pump installation. 

As you can see, installing a bilge pump in an aluminum boat is very doable. 

What else would you like to learn about bilge pumps?

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