The most recent data from the U.S. Coast Guard shows that 75% of the victims in fatal boating accidents drowned. Building an effective boat emergency kit with the right boating equipment is more essential than ever.
Did you know that a manual bilge pump can help prevent these types of fatalities?
In this article, we discuss the importance of bilge pumps, what to consider when you install a bilge pump, and how to use it. Continue reading to keep you, your passengers, and your boat safer on the water.
Manual vs. Automatic Bilge Pump
You may think a manual bilge pump is unnecessary if you have an automatic bilge pump, but this isn’t true. An automatic bilge pump is great for removing moderate amounts of water caused by splashes and small leaks.
However, most boats aren’t equipped with bilge pumps large enough to handle major leaks such as those caused by hull damage. A manual bilge pump is needed in these emergencies to prevent damage and sinking.
Choose the Right Size
When you buy and install a bilge pump, it’s important to choose the correct size. These are typically rated in gallons per hour (GPH). Use the guidelines listed below as a general rule of thumb.
- 1,000gph for less than 20 feet
- 2,500gph for up to 25 feet
- 4,000gph for up to 32 feet
- 6,000gph for up to 36 feet
- 8,500gph for up to 45 feet
Try to choose the largest possible bilge pump that is still reasonable for your boat. Keep in mind that the pump will typically move only about 60% of its rating. Buy this manual bilge pump for small boats, kayaks, and canoes.
Keep It Easily Accessible
When putting boating equipment in your boat emergency kit, be sure it’s easily accessible. If your boat has an automatic bilge pump, it can buy you time to grab your manual bilge pump, but you still shouldn’t waste time.
It’s also important that everyone on board knows where the boat emergency kit and any other boating equipment are kept. Giving passengers specific jobs in an emergency maximizes reaction time and minimizes damage.
Teach Others What to Do
Take the time to practice using the bilge pump and show your passengers as well. Let them see it before heading out so they know what it looks like.
They’ll need to stick the end of the pump into the water and start pumping. Use large, even pumps instead of short, frantic ones. Pumping quickly and evenly helps dispense the most water at the fastest rate.
Direct the Excess Water
Most bilge pumps come equipped with a hose to dispose of the water. Before you start pumping the water out, be careful where you point the hose. Make sure it’s pointing over the side of the boat.
Keep It Clean
When and if you ever need to use your manual bilge pump, make sure to clean it afterward. Dirt, debris, and other corrosive materials can block water flow or affect the pump’s ability to function.
Get Your Manual Bilge Pump
Having an automatic bilge pump on your boat doesn’t mean you don’t need a manual bilge pump in your boat emergency kit. Choose the right size, keep it easily accessible, and be sure you know how to use it.
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