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From the Bilge

Automatic Bilge Pumps

Category: General

Just about every boat has one, some boats have two or more. It's the automatic bilge pump. It sits down there in the dark bilge, not often seeing the light of day. But this one piece of boating hardware has probably saved more boats from sinking than all others combined. An automatic bilge pump should be exactly that, automatic. The main way that these bilge pumps operate is via a float switch. The float switch operates to activate the pump automatically when the water level in the bilge rises to a pre- determined point.

Every now and then, when checking out a boat, we find an automatic bilge pump with an object lying across the float switch, restricting it's operation. So next time you're down in the bilge checking your seacocks spare a thought for your automatic bilge pumps. Check your bilges for loose items that could slide around to obstruct your float switch like coils of rope, brooms, nets, swim fins etc.( anything that's not stowed correctly ). And whilst you're there, lift your float switch up to check for correct operation of the pump itself.

These simple checks won't take long, but could save you and your boat from unneccessary heart ache.

Safe boating

Chris Mews and Lach Simpson