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Bilge question-gctid392082

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    Bilge question-gctid392082

    Sorry for starting so many threads but I'm new to cruisers and I'd rather ask you all then make my own mistakes.

    Do I always leave my bilge switches on? Even when I'm in the marina?

    If I remember correctly on my sea ray OB whe I switched on my bilge on my dash I would hear it run. I never has water in my boat so I never had the switch on.

    My 2355 has two but when I turn them on I don't hear them run. I assume they only activate if there is water to pump out, so if my assumption is correct I would leave them in the on position at all times. Why is there switches then?

    Or I'm totally wrong and neither bilge is working properly.


    Never be sorry to ask a question! I know, cuz I am the queen of questions.....

    Anyway - your bilge switch should be OFF and your bilge pump should be wired directly to your batteries and triggered by a float switch.

    Just in case you have a leak or there are torrential rains, you want your bilge active & able to get rid of any water that accumulates.

    so,,,,,Switch OFF

    the Question Queen


      To add to the Queen's correct answer; make sure you validate the operation of those pumps. If you can't hear them, have someone make sure they are operating when you flip the switch. Also make sure the auto float is functioning as well; like Q sez, switch your batteries off and move the float up by hand. The pump should start.


        I have to agree with Sarah. If you ever plan to leave your boat unattended in the water no matter how short the time is you should have a float switch which can turn on the bilge pump in case there's water intrusion. Something can fail and let enough water in to sink your boat while you are gone. It's a good sign that you have no water but that can change without notice.

        It's a good thing to have a float switch even when you are on the boat as you may detect water intrusion a lot later than the switch....

        Unfortunately Bayliner (and a lot more manufacturers) saved the $10 for an automatic bilge switch. There are two types, the mechanical float switches and the electronic ones.

        The electronics are less likely to get blocked or held open by debris in the bilge but will always draw current which in the end will drain your battery over the long run (they draw very low current). The mechanical ones don't draw current in off state but if something prevents the float to go all the way down your bilge pump will drain the battery even faster (rule number one: always keep the bilge clean. In mine you could eat if it wouldn't be that tight). It's a good idea to test the switches on a regular basis. The mechanical ones by lifting the lever and the electronic ones by putting a wet cloth between the contacts.

        The electronic ones have another advantage. They continue to run the pump for a few minutes after they detected that the low level is achieved.

        Don't run the bilge pump dry for an extended time as the plastic will melt. They use the water they pump to cool the motor.

        As to your last question. We can't know whether you have float switches but if you have float switches and a switch at the helm which can turn them off they are wired wrong!!!!!!!!! More likely they don't and some are really quiet. Pour a bucket of water in the bilge and check whether it comes out at the discharge hole. Unfortunately you will have to clean out some water manually as the bilge pumps usually don't get it below 1".

        Again: if your helm switch can override a float switch into off rewire it NOW. The helm switch should only override into the ON position (turn the bilge pump on no matter what the float switch wants).


          Your bilge is non-electrical and non-mechanical fiberglass!

          Do you mean "Bilge Pump"?

          Oh come on........, someone had to go there! :kidding
          Rick E. (aka RicardoMarine) Gresham, Oregon
          2850 Bounty Sedan Flybridge model
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          Kohler 4 CZ Gen Set

          Please, no PMs. Ask your questions on forum.


            Thanks for the info all!

            And thanks for keeping my terminology correct bounty.


              2850Bounty wrote:
              Your bilge is non-electrical and non-mechanical fiberglass!

              Do you mean "Bilge Pump"?

              Oh come on........, someone had to go there! :kidding
              Now that's funny



                Captharv 2001 2452
                "When the draft of your boat exceeds the depth of water, you are aground"