If you have any type of sailing or power boat having at least one of the many types of marine pumps on board is really a safety feature. These pumps can range from hand operated pumps through to bilge pumps that run off 12 V power sources in the boat itself. With all the different models and options there really isn’t any reason not to have this important safety equipment on board, after all you never know when an accident can occur that may cause the boat to take on water.
Marine pumps that run off the boat’s power supply are typically the submersible types of pumps. They come in a variety of sizes for use on various sizes of boats. These pumps will all have a maximum amount of water that they can pump, measured in gallons per hour, in conjunction with a maximum water level under which the pump will function. The smaller the boat the smaller the pump that you need, however in larger sailing vessels more than one pump may be an important consideration.
In addition the gallons per hour of volume that will be pumped out of the boat, it is also important to consider the size of the hose outlet to the marine pumps. The larger the outlet the more water than can be pumped, but also the bigger the motor will need to be to generate the pumping capacity. Again, knowing the size of the boat in relation to the motor is essential in making the correct selection.
Marine pumps should be selected with safety in mind in addition to the pumping volume. Look for motors that offer ignition protection, which is circuit protection, ensuring that issues with ignition of possible fuel in the water are not a concern. Since these types of pumps are ideal for so called “gray” water this is an important consideration. It is also critical to check to see if the pump is suitable for use in salt or fresh water, many are good for both, before choosing a pump. Pumps that are designed to handle fresh water cannot be used in salt water, but salt water pumps operate in fresh water.
Pumps may also be self-priming or they may require priming to start. Depending on the accessibility of the pump within the boat this may be a very important consideration. If you want to have additional safety for the pump, be sure to look for pumps that have run-dry capability. This means that they can be used to drain almost all the water from the boat without possibly damaging the pump if full volume into the pump cannot be maintained due to lower water levels.
For smaller boats, campers and even for home use hand operated marine pumps are a very cost effective way to remove excess water. These pumps aren’t designed for massive amounts of water but they are ideal for dependable pumping operation. The amount of water pumped is largely dependent on the outlet hose size as well as the pumping action of the operator. They are typically self-priming and will start to pump water almost immediately with the first movement of the handle. They are lightweight and the handle is removable, making them ideal for storage in smaller cabinets or bins on board. As with the electric pumps the hand operated models can handle both salt and fresh water plus gray water. Since there is no power or possibility of spark there is no need for concern with pumping fuel that may have run into bilge water, making them very safe to operate.