Why do you need bilge pumps?
Water can unintentionally get on board in small quantities, due to condensation, small leaks and leaking fresh water connections. With good ventilation, the bilge normally dries by itself via evaporation. If the water exceeds a certain amount, the liquid has to be pumped out, so that no unwanted side effects, such as wet interior lining and insulation, laminate damage in polyester boats or rusting in steel boats occur.
Even small holes with a size of only 2-3 cm, half a meter below the water line, can let 10.000 liters of water per hour into your boat. This quantity can easily double itself due to certain cicumstances, such as a torn sea cock, which can create a hole of about 5 cm at a depth of 60 cm, which would create a water flow of about 20.000 liters per hour.
Smaller ships need suitable bilge pumps in particular, although much space is often required for their installation, which may not be available due to their relatively low lift, low freeboard and related water absorption over the gunwale. Due to their smaller bilge capacity and thus a closer proximity to machinery and electrical installations, a bilge pump is always a significant part of your on-board equipment, even if it only provides you with enough time to repair a leak, to return to land, or to make preparations for the worst case scenario - to abandon ship.
The right system for your boat:
We recommend that each ship has two independent bilge systems or that any watertight compartment of the ship has at least one pump. Care should be taken to ensure that all pumps are fitted with a strainer. A centrifugal bilge pump (submersible pump) is not self-priming and must therefore be placed at the lowest point of their bilge. All pumps should be easily accessible for cleaning and maintenance.
You should not rely on a 12 volt submersible bilge pump as your only "emergency pump". We recommend the additional installation of at least one large manual diaphragm pump. You should pump out multiple compartments, so they can be individually separated by a two-way valve from the rest of the system, which prevents the pump from drawing air when a compartment is already empty.
Tips for optimal performance:
- Upgrade your bilge pump with a float switch. The device is controlled with the help of a three-way control switch, which allows you to turn on the pump manually or automatically.
- Only use hoses that are smooth on the inside, because grooved surfaces reduce pump performance considerably.
- Keep hoses as straight and short as possible.
- Secure all hose connectors twice below the waterline.
- Board openings are above the waterline and should be shut off with a ball valve. If they are still under water, they should be connected to a gooseneck.
- Remember, large differences in height reduce pump capacity, hence the drain should not be attached higher than necessary.
If you have any additional questions about bilge pumps, do not hesitate to either call us or write us an email! SVB doesn't just offer pumps from different brands, we also have a large selection of pump accessories as well.