It seems pumps die more commonly from lack of use rather than overuse.
Human nature being what it is, it seems to make sense to me to make any engine
driven pump have an additional non emergency
use, ie deckhose and chainwash down, as is common on most fishing
boats. That way the system is regularly used, and quickly repaired when it fails.
Don't hang the washdown hose overboard
, a syphon can cause backflooding. Also, it might be a good idea to locate the outlet somewhere easy to see (like into the cockpit
if it drains through the transom), so you can make sure it is still pumping. locating the outlet anywhere it could go underwater is a recipe for making the problem worse if the pump fails.
However one time I really needed a pump to work was in a mid Tasman blow on a square rigger. Wood chips washed into the bilge
from behind the ceiling planks lining the hull
and blocked the pipework. To make matters worse while checking the strumbox the bookshelf gave way, and the bilge filled up with trashy paperbacks. The engineer
was incapacitated by seasickness. This impeller pump was regularly used and well maintained, with a good strum box and a filter. The blockage turned out to be in the pipework inside an elbow
The hand diaphragm
pump rubber failed when a wave nearly washed the two crew operating it away. They grabbed the handle, and all the loads went on the diaphragm
which promptly tore. We latter fitted a lanyard to the handle to stop this happening again. This isn't a bad idea for any boat, as I have seen the whole pump body break, or be torn off from similar loads.
The centrifugal fire pump could not get a prime from it's on deck
position. I really wished we had a few electric
A large workboat I ran had a tee into the cooling
water so the bilge system could do double duty as an emergency engine
cooling pump. I guess the volume of water
could be an issue, if too much you might need to let some of it bypass the engine and go overboard
, but might be handy.
I guess for me I feel that a couple of good big 12v electric pumps with very well waterproofed cabling and batteries together with some decent hand pumps and half height watertight divisions where possible to help isolate identify the source of any leak, plus a few buckets are going to keep me feeling much safer than I do when driving a car.
But I wouldn't argue with those that would prefer a large engine driven pump as well. I might even fit one day myself.