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Boating Basics: What Is A Bilge Pump?

A bilge pump is easily overlooked because it is usually installed under the boat's engine on an inboard. Also, the Coast Guard does not require recreational boats. But it is not an optional tool. 

Here you should know about boat bilge pumps:

  • Most boats have either a submersible or centrifugal bilge pump.
  • Boat bilge pumps can be supplemented with additional manual pumps in case of power loss Centrifugal pumps. 
  • We recommend an auxiliary diaphragm pump with an in-line strainer to supplement. 
  • The fourth type of bilge pump, an engine or electric powered high capacity pump is another great option.

Bilge pump

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It is also recommended to carry a five-gallon bucket on board, your boat should be caught in a gale and its bilge system fails.

Automatic vs Manual Bilge Pumps

When it comes to electric bilge pumps, there are two options: automatic bilge pumps, and manual bilge pumps. 

Automatic bilge pumps are equipped with a built-in float switch that detects the water level and will automatically turn the bilge pump when necessary. Vessels longer than 20 feet with a gold housing require automatic pumps to be installed, although boats of any size can use these convenient pumps.

Manual bilge pumps are an economical option that works for most fishing boats and small recreational vessels. It is easy to install, and usually easy to maintain. For example, the cartridge bilge pump consists of a cartridge motor that can be easily removed and replaced.