There are many choices when designing a bilge pumping system for your vessel. Aside from the common submersible bilge pump, there are engine driven and manual options to fit any application. The following is a quick overview of different types.
Manual Diaphragm Pumps
These are the traditional mainstay of small craft
bilge pumping systems and can offer surprisingly
good flow rates, as well as a variety of installation
options. Yacht racing rules state that at least one
pump must be capable of being pumped from the
cockpit with all hatches shut. The best way to
accomplish this is with a through deck kit which
allows the pump to be in stalled safely below decks
while the operator pumps from above.
A well designed manual bilge pump is very hard to
block due to its large bore hose and valves and
one piece diaphragm. The larger pumps in Jabsco's
line of manual bilge pumps are also suitable for
ballast and waste transfer.
Electric Submersible Pumps
Now by far the most popular type of electric Bilge
Pumps, submersibles give very high outputs, are
cost effective , have low amp draw and are easy to
install. They are designed to fit in the lowest part
of the bilge and only require discharge pipe work
and electricity supply. However, flow rates decrease
more rapidly than other types of pumps as the
discharge head increases, so check our
recommended maximum discharge heads and if in
doubt, always increase the size of the pump.
Although our submersibles can be run dry for up
to 2 hours, pump life can be extended by avoiding
dry running whenever possible. All submersibles
can be operated using a float or hydro-air switch,
and remotely controlled outside the bilge
compartment by using a Jabsco switch panel.
Electric Diaphragm Pumps
These pumps are excellent for shallow bilge boats
where the water left behind by other types of
pumps will slop from side to side. With the small
size of inlet plumbing they are very effective as
bilge pumps, removing all but the last drops of
water. Diaphragm pumps can be run dry which
removes the need to watch overboard outlets
while the pump is running. The ability to
self-prime means they can be mounted in an
easily accessible high and dry location to simplify
installation and improve serviceability. Most models
in the line are supplied complete with a
Pumpgard™ strainer to protect the pumps from
Electric Flexible Impeller Pumps
Flexible Impeller pumps make excellent bilge
pumps, principally be cause of their ability to handle
bilge debris without damage. Because of the robust
design many owners still use our 12 volt DC or 24
volt DC flexible impeller motor pump units that are
up to 25 years old! Flexible Impeller Pumps also
give the benefits of good flow, low cost, low size
and weight, and are easily serviced and maintained.
Most Flexible Impeller pumps must not be run dry,
as this will damage the impeller which will require
replacing. However, the Utility Puppy 2000 and
3000 both allow a maximum of ten minutes dry
running after initial prime. Flexible impeller pumps
can be operated using a float or Hydro Air switch,
and remotely controlled from outside the bilge
compartment. There is a wide range of flexible
impeller pumps to choose from giving a range of flows, discharge
heads, and self-priming options for a wide variety
of applications such as ballast transfer, bait tank
circulation, and deck wash duties.
Engine Driven Flexible Impeller Pumps
Jabsco engine driven pumps are probably the
strongest and most reliable pumps produced
today. Combined with other benefits such as self-priming
and very high flow rates, these pumps are
now the firm favorites of commercial and
professional mariners world wide. All the pumps
are easily maintained and can fulfill a variety of
duties on board both modern and classic vessels.
Jabsco engine driven pumps come in a very wide
range of performances and sizes and can be direct
driven by either a clutch, pulley, hydraulic drive, or
close coupled to a suitable power take off on the
engine. These pumps are suitable for applications
- High flow, heavy duty bilge pumps.
- Emergency on board bilge pumps.
- Fire fighting pumps.
- Engine cooling.
- Water ballast transfer.
- Circulation duties.
Of course each application requires different features from each pump and drive type. Either manual or electromagnetic flexible impeller clutch pumps are ideal for bilge pumping. Each type of clutch has different benefits from the other. Manual clutches will operate as long as the engines are still running which provides added security when operating as an emergency bilge pump. Electromagnetic clutches can be operated remotely via float or Hydro Air switches, while fitting a vacuum switch eliminates all risk of dry running damage. However, electromagnetic clutches will only engage as long as electrical power remains available.