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Old 01-08-2011, 15:11   #1
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Bilge Water Equilibrium

Is there some universal boat law that says there must always be some water in the bilge?

A few weeks ago I sucked all the water out with my wet vac and dried the bilge. Just to have a werid storm come along that blew rain under the dodger aganist the hatchway; putting water back into the bilge.

So I sucked it out and dried it again.

Only to forget to turn on the shower sump pump before taking a shower one day so water ended up back in the bilge.

So I repeated the sucking activity middle of the week while on the boat for something else. And 3 days later (Sat) was happy to find the bilge still dry.

So today (Mon) after sailing ths weekend I go to the boat for something else and check the bilge; and dang it it has 1/2" of water in it again (way below the pump level)! Maybe it came from the frig because I loaded it with ice and the level was up aganist the door and was leaking around the seal. But then again I was pretty heeled over the other day and maybe it came in the bilge pump line as it seems low to me on the boat (have to look into this more, and we are talking like a quart or so of water so don't start telling I'm sinking).

Regardless it just seems there must be some natural law that says it is not acceptable to have a dry bilge!
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Old 01-08-2011, 15:27   #2
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Re: bilge water equalibrium

Why did you want it dry? AC drips, stuffing box, rain through anchor closets....There are a lot of sources of water that are, as you know, no problem.
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Old 01-08-2011, 15:29   #3
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Re: bilge water equalibrium

You should be able to keep the bilge fairly* dry, with a deck-stepped mast.

The packing gland should drip, just a little; unless you've tightened it for an extended stay at dock or mooring.
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Old 01-08-2011, 15:49   #4
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Re: bilge water equalibrium

my bilge is "fairly" dry

deck stepped mast, no way for anchor well to drain to bilge, dripless shaft seal

the thread is in fun, but I want the bilge to be dry to reduce the moisture related problems it causes (like mold)
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Old 01-08-2011, 16:01   #5
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Dry Bilge...

I like to keep my bilge almost totally dry, despite having lifted the electric pump and switch above the "normal level".

I usually have less than a cupful.

Big advantages include minimizing corrosion (on a steel boat), reducing "odors" and keeping everything that might block the pumps under control.

But the biggest advantage of all is that I'm aware of everything that comes into the bilge (mostly rainwater and a few drops of oil) and how fast it gets there.

I use a cut down ice cream container to collect drips from the stern gland and an oil absorbent pad to collect the oil.

So keep up the good work. Remember, most boats that sink would do so because the owner was not aware of the state of their bilge.
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Old 01-08-2011, 19:54   #6
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Re: Bilge Water Equilibrium

Water in the bilge is not a bad thing. While living on my boat in Luperon, D.R several years ago, a mangrove rat got into the boat. All attempts at trapping and poisoning failed to kill the rat fink. During the month while we were trying all the methods of catching or killing him we were loading the traps with peanut butter, salami, and imported meats. Each morning the traps were clean of all the bait and no rat. Finally after the rat spent a month eating all the imported cold cuts and peanut butter he got really fat and when he tried to lean into the main bilge for a drink of water, fell in and drowned.
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Old 03-08-2011, 17:38   #7
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Funny story. You should publish it...
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:24   #8
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Re: Bilge Water Equilibrium

Pooooor ratty.
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Old 04-08-2011, 02:51   #9
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Re: Bilge Water Equilibrium

I like mine dry - I vacuum out the dust about every six months!!
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