The bilge pump is a crucial part of your engine room equipment, yet its importance is regularly underestimated. It is usually the first indicator if you are taking on water and the last line of defense when things go horribly wrong.
You would therefore expect it to be the best-maintained piece of equipment on the vessel, however it’s common to find boats with no bilge pump at all or a faulty or inadequately-fitted pump.
River Canal Rescue advises, where possible, to fit a large GPH pump in the engine room, and for added safety fit one in the domestic compartment too. Ensure it has an automatic function so will protect when you’re not present.
Maintenance is easy and takes five minutes maximum. The most important part of bilge pump maintenance is making sure the area around and under where it sits is clear of debris and pollutants (grease).
Undertake a regular test to ensure it’s working; switch the pump on manually and then trigger the automatic switch (if you have one) by pouring water into the bilge area. If the test fails you may need to: turn the pump upside down, lift the float to trip the switch or give the pump a tap in case some debris is trapped.