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Old 07-06-2011, 14:58   #1
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Emergency Pumping

Hereís a little challenge. You are offshore single handed. You hit a floating container in the dark. You make sure all of your bilge pumps are working but the water is still coming in faster than they can handle. How do you get more water going out so that you have time to work on stopping the leak? Remember you are by yourself so you canít work a hand pump and do damage control at the same time. Is there anything you can do ahead of time to prepare for this? Obviously Iíve given this some thought but I bet you guys can come up with ideas Iíve missed.
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Old 07-06-2011, 15:18   #2
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Re: Emergency Pumping

Having fitted a y-valve to my engine raw water intake hose & the branch hose reaching into the bilge .... I am able to start my engine & let it suck from the bilge ...
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Old 07-06-2011, 15:19   #3
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Re: Emergency Pumping

Crank up my 4108 and engage the engine driven pump, 2
' discharge, not sure of the GPH.

On the old boat, break out hammer to beat the plates back in and weld.
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Old 07-06-2011, 15:22   #4
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Re: Emergency Pumping

There is only so much you can do with pumps before they start getting impractically large. Watertight bulkheads and watertight doors is the next step, which for most yachts is impractical. After that it is time to beak out the life raft or life boat.
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Old 07-06-2011, 15:22   #5
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Re: Emergency Pumping

To start with, it would be a good idea to have a large capacity bilge pump driven off your engine, either through a clutch or off the propellor shaft (see Fast Flow Emergency Bilge Pump). That way you have some extra time and can stretch your battery power; battery powered bilge pumps won't last for long and will probably not keep up with major flooding. Second, have some sort of collision mat on hand and practice using it so you know exactly what to do. If you can get the mat in place, you are halfway home and can make some temporary repairs if the damage is not too great. Also have a supply of various sized rubber or wooden plugs and other assorted emergency tools.
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Old 07-06-2011, 15:51   #6
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Re: Emergency Pumping

Good ideas are coming in! Let's see, we've got a Y-valve on the raw water intake (take a look at the Groco Safety Seacock Conversion), an extra pump driven by the engine, a huge pump driven off the prop shaft, and water tight bulkheads where possible. Astrid is of course correct, you can't do damage control without damage control supplies. A collision mat and various plugs don't take much space. I think David has a lot of insurance on his boat and a luxury liferaft. Unicorn, you probably sank the container and won't notice the dent in your steel boat until the next time you haul.
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Old 07-06-2011, 15:53   #7
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Re: Emergency Pumping

I can tell you what I did when I hit a reef in Mexico...
I closed the gen set raw water intake and took a knife out of a galley drawer and cut the raw water intake hose near the thru hull valve and stuck it down in the bilge, fired up the gen set. Knee deep water in the main salon and galley. Main engine oil pan in water. Gen set emptied out the water fast! I had knocked the rudder out of the boat on the reef and water was coming in through the rudder tube. Just happened to have a 6" expandable plug and saved the boat. Still one of the worse nights of my life. Got it into Porto Aventuras, fixed it and went on to Guatemala.
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Old 07-06-2011, 16:09   #8
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Re: Emergency Pumping

I started a thread a long time ago:

The Ericson pump seems to be made by the Fast Flow company now.

Another Bilge Pump Thread

I don't think watertight compartments are completely undo-able. I used to think in terms of submarine type doors, I even looked at a steel boat that had those kinds of doors. More realistically it doesn't have to be watertight all the way up. I've seen a sliding door advertised. It looks a lot like my v-berth door with a rubber gasket and a latch. I would have to seal the holes in the rest of the bulkhead, but it looks like it wouldn't be too hard. That would make a forward collision bulkhead. Liza Copeland's boat had the forward area under the v-berth foamed, and they reported an incident with major glass damage when they hit something, but no leaks into the boat.

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Old 07-06-2011, 16:25   #9
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I have 2 x 3700 GPH (14000 l/hr) portable bildge pumps in addition to the ones come standard with the boat.
A strong long flexible extension chord with y piece - first pump inserted in trouble spot with pool type hose outlet attached. When set can add 2nd as well all run by genset.
Fitting plate into which telescopic boat hook screws to Hold pump in place.
Easy to dismantle and store away.
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Old 07-06-2011, 16:43   #10
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Re: Emergency Pumping

I have (and have used in the past) nerf footballs, basketballs, etc.
They compress very well, and one is able to push them into any irregular crack..


They expand wonderfully around irregular areas and DO stem the inrush of water.
Using the Engine water intake as a improvised bilge pump is also a great solution..
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Old 07-06-2011, 17:16   #11
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Re: Emergency Pumping

Callistov, that was quick thinking. Have you put in a valve system so next time you won't need to cut the hose?
H2Oman, I like the nerf ball idea. Forespar makes a tapered plug out of a similar material but it isn't big enough to plug my exhaust port. I bet I can find a nerf ball big enough. Thanks for the idea.
John, I hadn't thought of it but if my boat takes a hit near the bow, the area under the V-berth would most likely flood and I can make that water tight.
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Old 07-06-2011, 17:32   #12
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Re: Emergency Pumping

Have you measured your engine's exhaust water output? My 3GM30F puts out 2 GPM at idle. If I assume linear output that's 8 GPM at max rpm. My little jabsco diaphragm pump is supposed to put out that much.

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Old 07-06-2011, 17:38   #13
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Re: Emergency Pumping

I think I'd go for the sail over the hole first (or collision mat) and then worry about getting the water out.
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Old 07-06-2011, 17:58   #14
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Re: Emergency Pumping

I agree with MarkJ. Fix the hole and dewater later. Cal40john is spot on. The throughput of engine cooling pumps is poor at best. There is no excuse for not having electric bilge pumps that kick their butt. Honda makes a very nice gas powered trash pump that is very impressive - size of a small canister vacuum.
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Old 07-06-2011, 18:05   #15
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Re: Emergency Pumping

I also agree with Mark J. Stop or slow down the incoming water first, then pump it out in various ways. A big diaphram hand pump is very useful and should be installed in all boats going off shore.
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