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Old 26-03-2013, 07:01   #1
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Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

Does anyone have recommendations for their favorate brand of bilge pump that will both remove water at a high rate and keep the bilge as dry as possible (I'd like to find a pump that will suck up that last half an inch of bilge water).

I'm especially interested in pumps that have built-in float/water detection switches or that periodically run "just to make sure".
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Old 26-03-2013, 07:04   #2
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

i use my wet n dry vacum cleaner for the bilges of my aluminium boat.........
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Old 26-03-2013, 07:11   #3
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

We use a rag.
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Old 26-03-2013, 07:17   #4
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

i use fullly automatic pump in my engine sump. it is never dry there...also is lowest place on boat..i wont dry it with a rag or sponge, as it is way deep.....so i have a lil water in my bilge.
if i wanted a fullly dry boat , i woulda sailed my ericson .... that boat has shallow dry bilges. and a fastass hull.....
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Old 26-03-2013, 09:10   #5
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

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Originally Posted by keelsidedown View Post
Does anyone have recommendations for their favorate brand of bilge pump that will both remove water at a high rate and keep the bilge as dry as possible (I'd like to find a pump that will suck up that last half an inch of bilge water).

I'm especially interested in pumps that have built-in float/water detection switches or that periodically run "just to make sure".
Those types will be the worse for getting the last 1/2 as they usually return water form the discharge hose after shutdown. And being an impeller type a one way valve won't work as the pump doesn't have enough ass to PUSH the valve open. The one way valve can only be installed after the pump hence the need to push the valve open.

What does work is a remote diaphragm pump with a one way valve type sump pickup. Since the one way valve is on the suction side the pump can suck it open and on shut off no water in the discharge line goes back into the bilge.

The other big benefit is that the diaphragm pump will pass just about anything without harm. The drop in impeller pumps quit working with the introduction of basically anything, hair, wood chips, bobby pins, etc. I've removed all of the above from non working drop in impeller type pumps on charter boats over the years.

After several trips to the boat to find my old drop in impeller pumps not working because of some kind of debris, I've gone over to a Jabsco remote diaphragm pump with a one way strum box in the bilge. In 6 years it's not needed to be touched and works every time. You will spend about 4-5 times the money to get it all done right, but what's your boat worth?
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Old 27-03-2013, 20:41   #6
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

It is always a good idea to have two or three electric pumps. One can take care of keeping the level low, the other(s) deal with high volume. I use small 360GPH Rule or similar as a primary pump. I had some success with mounting a horizontal plate/skirt around the bottom of the pump to delay the moment vortex forms and the pump sucks in air. I plumb it overboard with semi rigid poly tubing that just happens to jam tight inside the outlet. The idea is that smaller tubing means less water returning to the bilge when the pump shuts down. It may reduce output, but who cares. For anything more than a trickle, the next bigger, #2 (#3?), pump kicks in.
Whale Gulper with a suitable strum box will pump the water even lower, but it would be difficult to get any automatic switch to operate it effectively. You'll keep the bilge drier by using manual switch and listening to the slurp when the small pump is done.
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Old 27-03-2013, 20:48   #7
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It is always a good idea to have two or three electric pumps. One can take care of keeping the level low, the other(s) deal with high volume. I use small 360GPH Rule or similar as a primary pump. I had some success with mounting a horizontal plate/skirt around the bottom of the pump to delay the moment vortex forms and the pump sucks in air. I plumb it overboard with semi rigid poly tubing that just happens to jam tight inside the outlet. The idea is that smaller tubing means less water returning to the bilge when the pump shuts down. It may reduce output, but who cares. For anything more than a trickle, the next bigger, #2 (#3?), pump kicks in.
Whale Gulper with a suitable strum box will pump the water even lower, but it would be difficult to get any automatic switch to operate it effectively. You'll keep the bilge drier by using manual switch and listening to the slurp when the small pump is done.
+1 for Whale Gulper 220. Add a float switch and a timer solenoid so that you can program how long it keeps pumping after the float switch switches off again. Adjust by testing. The best suction tube is a piece of 3/4" PVC of which you cut the end under an angle so that you can stand it on thebottom of the sump/bilge while it will still be able to pump water.

This pump works so well because it can pump water, air and a water-air mixture. It is also extremely durableand reliable.
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Old 27-03-2013, 20:53   #8
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

To Jedi: good ideas, indeed. You got a make and a part # for a suitable 12V timer relay?
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Old 27-03-2013, 21:15   #9
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To Jedi: good ideas, indeed. You got a make and a part # for a suitable 12V timer relay?
Raritan has one for their pheIII electric toilet which is what I use IIRC.
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Old 28-03-2013, 01:07   #10
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

I'm wondering why the bilge needs to be so dry. Is it a shallow bilge? Mine is 4 ft. deep and contained to a 12" X 24" section
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Old 28-03-2013, 01:40   #11
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

You know all those free phone books that they drop on your doorstep and you keep throwing away? Keep a couple in your dock box. After your pump has gotten all it can, sit one on it's edge in your bilge and it'll suck up every last drop. THEN you can throw it away.

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Old 28-03-2013, 08:42   #12
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

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You know all those free phone books that they drop on your doorstep and you keep throwing away? Keep a couple in your dock box. After your pump has gotten all it can, sit one on it's edge in your bilge and it'll suck up every last drop. THEN you can throw it away.

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Finally...a use for hos damn things!
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Old 28-03-2013, 09:03   #13
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

If you have water in your bilge, you have a leak somewhere. Fix it. It helps if you have a dry exhaust, keel coolers, and no through hulls. Put a container under your stuffing box to monitor the drip, if you like one.
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Old 28-03-2013, 16:13   #14
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

some boats have wet bilges. taint no big thang,mon......there are packing glands for rudders and for prop shafts, and some even sail wet.
mine has a wet bilge and sails dry.


best bilge pump--scared man with a bucket.....

best bilge pump-----whatever actually works.

happy sails...
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Old 31-03-2013, 16:47   #15
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Re: Best bilge pump to keep the bilge as dry as possible

Need two pumps-
Bigass 3700/400 with 2" smooth hose for when the shinola hits and a SuperSub 500 to suck down to the last 3/8", need to use a check valve to keep it dry. Do yourself a favor, forget the "runs for 5 seconds every few minutes" pump. YMMV but it drives me crazy.
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