How to Keep Water on the Outside

Before taking your boat out on the water, it is important to check, check and check again. Some of our earlier blog articles talk about the importance of checking batteries. In addition to that, bilge pumps are undoubtedly one of the most important systems on any vessel and must be checked upon regularly. Many factors play a part on whether your bilge pumps will keep your boat afloat. Here are a few ways to check these and keep the water on the outside:

  1. Always start at the source of supply and ask yourself: are your batteries fully charged and are the connections in good condition? To do these checks properly you can refer to our previous blog articles about battery checks.
  2. Do a visual check of your bilge compartment to see if it is clean and clear. Is the bilge pump clear of any objects that could jam the motor or block and cover the intake? This part is easy if the engine room is in good shape.
  3. Check the connections at or near the pump. These connections must be suitable to be under water. Many boat manufacturers connect their gear in different ways, so take a close look to make sure the connections are tight, sealed and clean. If you have any doubt, the connections should be re-done by a qualified electrician to ensure that they are done correctly.
  4. Check the mounting and function of the system. You can do this by reaching down and grabbing the pump and float switch and seeing if they are firmly in place. Most are screw-mounted so check the base for these. A bilge pump that moves or floats will be ineffective in keeping water on the outside.

Testing can be done two ways. The first is by lifting the float switch and listening for the sound of the motor running. The second is more daring and requires that the first few checks be done properly. Put water in your bilge till the float switch is activated and the pump starts running automatically. Be careful while doing this to make sure no items get submerged and end up causing unwanted damage. This second test can only be done when your bilge is clean and clear of all non-friendly chemicals and marine life particles. If the water is pumped overboard freely then you should be good to go.

It is best to be familiar with your system before your leave the dock, so you do not end up with water in your boat when you least expect it. This will cause unnecessary problems that will get in the way of your boating experience. So remember to check your systems often, and stay safe out there!