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Old 28-01-2013, 16:22   #1
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Bilge Emergency Pump Idea

I have heard an idea that makes so much sense that i'm wondering why boat manufacturers don't do this already. So simple it's crazy more people don't know this trick. Use your motor to pump out your bilge. Fabricate a a system that uses your sea strainer raw water system, enable it to be redirected to your bilge to draw out the water in a hurry. Just put in a directional valve with an extra hose to be routed to the bilge. Do this in front of your sea strainer, to keep debris down. You could even just use a garden hose if you could fit up the plumbing somehow. Pretty easy, and I'll be doing this. The only downside I can think of is running out of bilge water so fast that you may overheat if your not paying attention, and the extra fittings that could cause a big leak if not taking proper percautions. This is a great back-up emergency idea that would help keep your boat floating if you puch a hole in her or have a sea cock fail. Just a thought....
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Old 28-01-2013, 16:50   #2
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I bet my idea is better; - disconnect suction of your galley pump at the tank and drop it into bilge, open tap for pressurised system, or manualy operate delivery system. Presto, about 7 liters of bilge water will go down the drain every minute.
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Old 28-01-2013, 17:25   #3
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

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Originally Posted by Orrjames View Post
I have heard an idea that makes so much sense that i'm wondering why boat manufacturers don't do this already.
I've crewed on large motor yachts that have this sort of system. It's basically just a Y-valve. But the raw water pump on smaller sailboats doesn't really pump sufficient water to make it worth the effort.
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Old 28-01-2013, 17:30   #4
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

Yeah, it is surprising how wimpy the raw water pump is on most engines. I fill a 5-gallon bucket with antifreeze when winterizing my Perkins 4.236 and at idle I can stay ahead of the engine pump while manually opening and pouring 1 gallon bottles into the bucket. My guess is that it would be something like 5 gallons a minute for that pump.
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Old 28-01-2013, 17:45   #5
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orrjames View Post
I have heard an idea that makes so much sense that i'm wondering why boat manufacturers don't do this already. So simple it's crazy more people don't know this trick. Use your motor to pump out your bilge. Fabricate a a system that uses your sea strainer raw water system, enable it to be redirected to your bilge to draw out the water in a hurry. Just put in a directional valve with an extra hose to be routed to the bilge. Do this in front of your sea strainer, to keep debris down. You could even just use a garden hose if you could fit up the plumbing somehow. Pretty easy, and I'll be doing this. The only downside I can think of is running out of bilge water so fast that you may overheat if your not paying attention, and the extra fittings that could cause a big leak if not taking proper percautions. This is a great back-up emergency idea that would help keep your boat floating if you puch a hole in her or have a sea cock fail. Just a thought....
I've had that on my CAL28 for 26 years....
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Old 28-01-2013, 17:57   #6
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

By the way, maybe it is obvious, but I would only consider this option as an emergency bilge pump. You wouldn't want to take the chance of pumping crud through your engine system. Remember, the raw water engine pump feeds into your engine passages and eventually your exhaust--it wouldn't take much to plug those little passages up. Sure, you could figure out how to do this before the strainer, but it would plug up very quickly in an emergency. I have been on a sinking boat with numerous pumps running, and it was very hard to keep them unplugged when all the crap in the boat was floating around.
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Old 28-01-2013, 18:03   #7
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Orrjames View Post
I have heard an idea that makes so much sense that i'm wondering why boat manufacturers don't do this already. So simple it's crazy more people don't know this trick. Use your motor to pump out your bilge. Fabricate a a system that uses your sea strainer raw water system, enable it to be redirected to your bilge to draw out the water in a hurry. Just put in a directional valve with an extra hose to be routed to the bilge. Do this in front of your sea strainer, to keep debris down. You could even just use a garden hose if you could fit up the plumbing somehow. Pretty easy, and I'll be doing this. The only downside I can think of is running out of bilge water so fast that you may overheat if your not paying attention, and the extra fittings that could cause a big leak if not taking proper percautions. This is a great back-up emergency idea that would help keep your boat floating if you puch a hole in her or have a sea cock fail. Just a thought....
You don't really think this is a new idea do you?

The reason manufacturers don't do it is because they are into building boats as simply and cheaply as possible. It is up to us to make them reliable and safe.

kind regards,
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Old 28-01-2013, 18:16   #8
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

Just 2 of many.

Using Your Engine as a Bilge Pump


Cruisers & Sailing Forums - Crash Pumps?
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Old 28-01-2013, 18:16   #9
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

Groco makes a "safety seacock" just for this purpose:


I wouldn't do it. I think it endangers the engine for a minimal pumping capacity. A high capacity electric pump is a much better way to go.
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Old 28-01-2013, 18:27   #10
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

If ya want to use your engine for a bilge pump. get a power take off from a dealer or fab one up and use it to turn a Large emergency pump !Then ya have something that will move some water!! your engine pump will not move enough water to do ya much good!! Just my 2 cents
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Old 28-01-2013, 19:45   #11
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

Interesting feedback I must say. I didn't realize it was an old idea. I was just thinking about emergency back up pumping, it would be better than nothing if all else fails. The power take off idea is a good one, I'm investigating a new gen set and the one I like has that option, never considered just putting one on my main.
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Old 28-01-2013, 20:16   #12
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

The trouble with relying on engine-driven or electric pumps to stay afloat is that engines and electrics can and do fail. The Bounty, which now resides in Davy Jones' locker, did not sink due to catastrophic dismasting--the intruding water shut down their engines and gensets. Of course it was impractical for them to have enough crew to man sufficient pumps (though in former days a ship like that might have had), but most small sailboats can--and certainly ought to--have a very good manual bilge pump. Two is better.
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Old 28-01-2013, 20:30   #13
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

Personaly, I carry a world war 2 quick discharge pump setup. it's a 5 hp hand start engine with a 3 in pump with dirty water clearence in the pump (trash pump type) its small but a little heavy! but if ya need it it no problem to move it LOL I don't know how many gals a minute, but Ive used it to help out a fellow sailor a few yrs back and it do move some water !! I hope I never need it but Ive packed it 30 yrs and Im gonna keep it till I need it LOL just a thought, theres a lot of great small honda motored pumps out there might be a good idea if your worried !!
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Old 28-01-2013, 21:39   #14
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

There seem to be two camps on this. Those who seem to think it is more important to protect the engine and those who think it is more important to keep the boat afloat.

I'm in the keep the boat afloat first then worry about the engine camp. If I'm in danger of sinking, I want every available pump working to buy me time to do damage control. I don't see how anything in my bilge could get past my sea strainer to damage the engine anyway. Do all of the other things suggested, good ideas, but for the cost of a couple of valves you can add another pump to your list of options.
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Old 28-01-2013, 22:10   #15
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Re: Bilge emergency pump idea.

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Originally Posted by Orrjames View Post
I didn't realize it was an old idea.
There's no shame in coming up with a great idea 50 years after it's already been invented. Keep coming up with ideas, and pretty soon you'll have one that someone else hasn't yet had.
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