September 2020, Volume 117
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Boat Care Tips
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This month we are going to talk about the importance of staying on top of your boat's BILGE PUMP.
Most boats these days are coming with an additional bilge pump. One automatic/manual and one completely manual pump. An automatic bilge pump means that it has some type of float switch either being external or internal, that detects a water level and the bilge pump will come on once the water reaches a certain height. Having two bilge pumps is a very nice addition because it is always good to have an extra pump to protect your investment. Lots of boats only have one bilge pump, and really only require one. A day out on the water and a typical pop up summer thunderstorm comes along, and your bilge pump isn't working can leave you in a bad situation. I have personally seen boats fill up really fast from a pretty hard thunderstorm, and the bass boats built these days won't necessarily sink but you have a lot of electrical connections in the bilge that really can't handle being fully submerged in water. Not everyone has the luxury of having these new shiny and fancy bass boats, so an older smaller boat that takes on a lot of water can be catastrophic. You really need to inspect all of your connections on the wires coming from your bilge pump, and also the connections on the back of the switch and breaker or fuse and the wires that are going to them.
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One good thing to do is go to your local boat dealer and buy a couple of replacement switches that match what's in your boat, so if you have a switch fail on the water you can fix it quickly without any consequences. To test the automatic side of the pump you can put the plug in your boat and take a garden hose and fill up the bilge area of your boat with water completely submerging the pump or the float switch, and make sure the pump kicks on. If your bilge pump doesn't come on and you can't seem to figure out the problem you need to bring it in to your local dealer and have them fix or replace the pump. Another good tip to having a properly working bilge pump is to keep the bilge area of your boat clean and free of debris. I can't tell you enough how many times we have pulled fishing string, sticks, screws, wire ends, rocks, etc. from bilge pumps when customers say the pump isn't working. Keeping the bilge of your boat clean is a very crucial thing to do in all boats. Something that I do is leave a bar of lava soap laying in my bilge area so when my bilge gets water in it it keeps the grime from building up in the bottom of your boat, just a little food for thought. In most smaller boats a 500 GPH pump is plenty enough, but in most bigger bass rigs we use the 1100 GPH pumps, and 90% of the time I talk the customer into having an additional 1100 GPH pump just to be on the safe side. These 1100 GPH automatic bilge pumps run anywhere from $100-$150 dollars, and are very minimal cost compared to the damage of having a bad bilge pump or not having one at all. Remember the last thing you want is to be caught in a rainstorm or taking waves over the boat and your bilge pump doesn't work, that can lead to a very bad day on the water. Also try to remember September is still a very hot month down here in Louisiana and you need to stay hydrated while you are fishing!!
As always Tight Lines,