Turn Your Engine into a High-Capacity Pump

Thunk! A loud noise jostles you out of a deep sleep. You roll out of your berth and step into ice cold water, ankle-deep and rising. You fumble for a flashlight, and find a gaping hole in the port side.

Desperate, you make a fast repair from cushions and hatch boards. Your mechanical pumps are overwhelmed. You need a fast way to get the water out of the boat to prevent capsize. What now, skipper?

Expect your mechanical bilge pumps to be overwhelmed with excessive water as described in our scenario. You could use your sailboat diesel engine as a “dewatering” pump in an emergency. Follow these fast, easy steps:

Primary Emergency Pump Method

1. Shut off the raw-water seacock. Double check that the seacock handle has been positioned at a 90° angle to the seacock hose.

2. Remove the seacock hose from the top tailpiece of the seacock. Lash a piece of screening (use mosquito screening or similar material) over the top of the hose. The screen will prevent trash or debris from being sucked into the intake while dewatering.

3. Stick the end (intake) of the seacock hose deep into the bilge. Insure that the intake will be submerged before you start the engine. If alone or short-handed, weight the hose near the end with a length of chain or heavy shackle. This will help keep it submerged while you go to the next step.

4. Start your engine. Have your sailing partner or crew check for exhaust water from the stern tube. Shut the engine down if you do not see exhaust water. Without this, your engine could overheat. Check the intake hose and clear any trash blocking the intake. Start the engine again and check for exhaust water flow.

5. Stop the engine when you can no longer keep the intake end of the seacock hose submerged by several inches. Use sponges and buckets to remove the remainder of the water aboard.

Make Up a Longer Intake Hose Ahead of Time

Make up an extra length of hose ahead of time. The old seacock hose may be too short to reach down into the bilge. Or it may be frozen onto the top tailpiece. This can cause it to tear. Follow these steps along with the illustration.

Measure the distance from the engine to the bilge. Purchase hose this length, the same diameter as your raw-water hose (blue hose in illustration). In an emergency, shut off the seacock. Remove the old raw water hose from the raw water strainer (rw strainer in illustration).

Attach the longer hose to the raw water strainer. Secure it in place with hose clamps. Lash a piece of screening to the end. Stick the end deep into the bilge. Follow steps 4 and 5 above.

Alternative Fixed Installation Emergency Pump Method

You might choose a more permanent installation than that described in the newsletter mentioned earlier. This alternative pump installation will be faster to put into action, but it will require some extensive, but simple modifications to your engine’s raw-water system.

Materials You Will Need

“T” Connection. (sized to fit hoses)

Extra hose length

Stainless hose clamps for all fittings

In-line shut-off valve (see below)

Screening for end of hose (to prevent debris clogs)

1. Install the T-connection onto the raw water (RW) hose. Insert the extra pump hose (blue hose in illustration) into the bottom of the “T” fitting as shown in the illustration.

2. Insert the in-line shut-off valve in the extra pump hose (blue hose in illustration). Cover the end of the extra pump hose with screening to prevent debris from entering the hose.

3. Keep the in-line shut-off valve in the closed position when you run your engine for every day operation. It’s a good idea to tie off the valve in the closed position so that it could not be bumped or opened by accident (this could cause severe engine damage).

  • In an emergency, shut off the raw water seacock valve. Then, open the in-line shut-off valve on the extra pump hose. In just two steps, your pump is ready for action!Place the end of the pump hose into the deepest part of your bilge. Send one of your crew aft to insure that you have water flow from the exhaust tube once you start the engine. Double check again that the pump hose end screen is in place and submerged. Start the engine. Monitor water flow from the exhaust tube.Stop the engine when just an few inches of water cover the pump hose end. Complete the de-watering process with manual and mechanical pumps, sponges, and buckets.

    Captain John’s Sailing Tip
    Carry stainless clamps on board. Double-clamp all hose fittings. Test stainless clamps before purchase with a small magnet. Stay away from clamps that cling to your magnet like a barnacle!

    Use these simple sailing tips to turn your small sailboat diesel into a powerhouse pump to get rid of flooding water fast in an emergency. Keep your boat afloat and your crew safe and sound–wherever in the world you choose to cruise!

    Courtesy of www.skippertips.com

  • This entry was posted in Boat Rat's Tip of the Week and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>