The bilge pump is one of the most important safety elements on board. The mission is not only to keep the bilge area free of water, also the boat dry. Avoiding also the bad odors coming from standing waters.
The number of pumps and the flow needed is determined by the length of the boat and the size of the different separated areas around. At bow, center, engine room, showers, holding tanks… places where a bilge pump in perfect condition is required in order to avoid non-welcome risks.
The correct situation of the pumps is the first step for proper operation. There are submersible and remote mounting pumps. Non-submersibles have impellers with an easy replacement in case of breakage or wear. We have to put them out of any contact with liquid, even with the heel of the boat.
It is also important to have a drawing with the pumps situation for the crew to find them easily when revised.
Each pump should have a power and flow rate adjusted to the needs of the ship. If we check power drop in a bomb, before replacing review the installation if there is any elbow, blocked or another reason that makes the pump does not work properly.
The water inlet must be protected by a strainer to prevent the entry of solids that clog the pump or even break the internal turbine. We will have to check state and no elements that clogged. No matter how good the pump is, it will not work properly with poor suction.
If we notice engine overheating, can be by a malfunction, continuous use higher than specified by the manufacturer or poor contact between electrical devices such as bearings and brushes.
There are some accessories for pumps such as magneto-thermal and vacuum switches in addition to alarms and signal panels. Vacuum switches allow the pump to be always wet and in the best conditions, preventing breakage of membranes and warm in the absence of refrigeration. We must be careful not to leave it plugged at the harbour because is forbidden pouring liquids such as oils and fuels, present in the bilge.
The turbine is the most important part inside the pump because it is responsible for aspirate and expel the liquid with its rotation. If submersible pumps broke, we must replace the entire pump. The remote mounting have rubber impellers which are more effective and also enable replacement.