What are Marine Pumps?
There are quite a few applications for marine water pumps on board a boat, including; draining the bilge, filling live wells, and powering wash downs. Making sure your pumps are working and well maintained is important to a safe and successful day of fishing or cruising. Marine pumps can go through a lot of strain over the years and often need to be maintained and replaced. Before going out on the water you should make sure your pumps are running well. At the first sign of malfunction, replace or at the very least repair the marine pumps, not doing so can result in the sinking of your boat!
How to Choose a Bilge Pump?
Bilge pumps are found on most boats and are used to remove water from the bottom of the hull interior or the bilge, that collects there. When looking at the various pumps that are out there, you may be struggling to choose the best one for your setup. Consider the following points.
Choose the Right GPH: You need to look at the GPH for bilge pumps and choose one that offers the highest GPH that will fit on your boat. You never want to choose a pump with a lower GPH rate than the original pump installed by the manufacturer. The higher the GPH rate the quicker your boat will get rid of unwanted water, so often the stronger the better! Therefore, most serious boaters will say to go with the highest GPH pump you can fit in your bilge or pump area.
Importance of Bilge Pumps: It cannot be overstated how important it is to have a strong and reliable bilge pump on your boat and how you should maintain and check it regularly. Check them every time before taking out your boat. At the first sign of malfunction, you should replace or at least repair your bilge pumps. Simply put, if you don’t and your pump fails to work, your boat could sink.
How to Choose a Livewell or Baitwell Pump?
Livewell pumps are designed to provide water to fish or bait and keep them healthy and alive. Livewells are a crucial part of any fishing boat, which is why we prioritize supplying all livewell pumps and parts. Just like your bilge pumps, never use a pump with a lower GPH rating than the original pump installed in your boat.
Adjust Water Flow for the Type of Fish in Your Live Well: Simply put, different fish and bait require different water flows. Many types of saltwater bait fish like greenbacks need to constantly swim in fast-moving water, this means a larger pump is going to be needed. However, some baits like freshwater shiners may be harmed by water that is moving too fast. Conveniently, most live wells have adjustable outlet fittings, meaning you can adjust the water flow. Therefore, you are better off having a bit stronger pump than necessary and reducing the livewell flow valve if need be. Having a larger GPH pump will reduce the strain on the pump motor and provide more than enough circulation.
Other Styles of Marine Pumps
Macerator or Wastewater Pumps: These are often found on larger boats and act like garbage disposals, they have teeth that grind up types of waste and then pump out. This helps reduce drain clogs. They are commonly used to drain large fish boxes or sewage from boats and RVs. This is why they are also referred to as marine wastewater pumps.
Submersible Pumps: It's always good to have a submersible pump on a boat. They are great for pumping diesel fuel, water, and a wide variety of fluids out or into your boat. They can be used as a backup bilge pump as well.
How are Marine Pumps Activated?
Float Switches: These switches are popular and are designed to engage the pump when the water rises and raises the float triggering electricity to be sent to the pump to engage the pump. Do not blindly rely on these as many unforeseen things can affect their functioning. It is always best to check them before leaving the dock.
Water Sensing Switches: These switches have sensors that detect water using a low-impedance electrical field. Some of these switches can detect petroleum products and be set not to pump overboard
Dashboard Switches: switches mounted at the helm that engages a pump electrically. One advantage is you can flip them on at any time. These can be relatively simple to install, for more information on panel switches check out our learn section!
Hand Powered: Hand pumps are usually permanently mounted but some are portable. They are good to have on board because they will work usually regardless of your electrical situation. Adding a hand-powered pump to drain your bilge is never a bad idea!
Reasons Pumps Fail
Blocked Intake. There can be a multitude of ways to have debris find its way into your bilge area. If a plastic bag from the ice you added to the cooler accidentally finds its way into the bilge it easily can block for example the intake of the pump.
Flow Restrictions. The hoses connecting the fittings and the pump often route through some tight areas. This and other reasons may cause the tubing to kink or bend reducing or stopping the flow. Check your connections from beginning to end.
Electric Issues. There can be many simple issues. The connections usually butt connectors can come loose or could have been connected incorrectly. There also could be issues with your battery or batteries.
Need More Help Deciding? Give us a call!
For the last 40+ years, we’ve perfected the art of upgrading boats and helping boaters better enjoy their time on the water. If you have a question about a product or project give us a call! Our team of experts is here to help!