What is bilge pump and how does it operate on the boat?

For the most part, as boat parts Brisbaneaverage boat owners frequently forget to give their bilge pumps the proper care that they deserve. Oftentimes, bilge pumps end up unnoticed and neglected. But, emptying the boat’s bilge wells at regular intervals and proper maintenance of bilge pumps is of paramount importance as they are actually your boat’s first and line of defence against sinking.

Bilge Pumps – What are they really and how do they Work?

A Bilge pump primarily works as a cleaner of nuisance water as well as debris from the bilges and prevent flooding of the engine room. Likewise, it works as your boat’s last survival mechanism during emergency situations as it should also be able to buy you extra time allowing you to still identify where the source of the leak is and deal with it or worst so you can prepare your lifesaving devices if your boat is really succumbing to the water.

In other words, bilge pump boat is an important piece of safety equipment and often they live an unglamorous life as they are usually exposed to slimy, dirty and smelly conditions. These conditions can all but fairly contribute to your bilge pump’s potential to fail. Keeping your bilge pumps well-maintained is, therefore, a must in order to keep your boat floating long enough.

There are different types of bilge pumps but the most common and popularly used types are centrifugal pumps and diaphragm electrical pumps.

A centrifugal pump is composed of an impeller fixed at the centre and held in place by a shaft. It has vanes that are strategically located and the pump move water by kinetic energy, basically just like how a turbine is designed. Centrifugal pumps are mainly popular because they relatively cost cheaper, provide greater output rates (can move a lot of water) and require lesser time for the pumping process. But their main drawback is that they do not self-priming systems so they must sit in the water to pump.

Diaphragm electrical pumps suck out bilge water via an intake valve and they also have an output valve where water is pushed out through. Unlike centrifugal pumps though, they are self-priming so they can be run dry without issues and they are particularly more advantageous for use where water has to be pushed more than a few feet uphill. They, however, can’t move as much water nor tolerate as much debris making them prone to leaks and failures compared to centrifugal pumps.

How to Properly Maintain Your Boat’s Bilge Pump

The bilge pump has to be clean and free of debris and trashes so it can work efficiently. Excess water combined with oil residues and dirt can cause clogging in the pump and keeps it from operating properly.

Regular bilge cleaning is necessary, particularly for older boats. And, this is true even in the new ones. For centrifugal pumps, be sure to clear its strainers and waterproof all connectors. While diaphragm pumps can be cleaned by opening up its body and clearing its pump chambers from debris.