No Electronics No Bilge Pump....?

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No Electronics No Bilge Pump....?

Postby jwv630 on Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:45 am

Hi Guys

In the interest of 'gettin' er done' I'm thinking of not installing any batteries/electronics on my Pocketship to expedite completion. Honestly, I'm not that skillful and they add another level of complexity to the project.

Plan is to use battery powered (solar powered?) navigation lights. My main concern (understated) is that there will be no electric for a bilge pump. Perhaps there are manual or battery operated bilge pumps applicable to Pocketship. We'll primarily be sailing on the Chesapeake Bay so never out of sight of land but still a concern. Yes, I've heard the ole saying' 'the best bilge pump is a scared man with a bucket'....but still concerned as I'll be sailing mostly with my family.

Is going without a bilge pump/electronics a mistake?? May I have your thoughts please. Have learned a lot from you guys; thanks.

Jimmy V
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:12 pm

Re: No Electronics No Bilge Pump....?

Postby craig on Sat Mar 10, 2018 7:53 pm

I don't have a bilge pump or battery on my pocketship. I have only gotten water in the cabin twice; both times were a result of rain coming into the cabin while I was refitting her, and not seawater. Since I don't keep the boat on a mooring or at a dock, I have never felt the need for a pump. Even if I had one, could it keep up with the inflow if I holed the hull? Water inflow can be terrific through even the smallest hole (or so I've read - thankfully not due to experience)!

As for navigation lights: I use AA battery powered portable stern (white) and bow (red/green combination) lights, mounted above the rudder and on the breasthook, respectively. So far, I've never used them since I've never motored at night (and the regulations for this boat length require only a bright light for warning when not under motor power). With the type of sailing I do (primarily inland lakes, in exclusively good weather), I simply haven't felt the need for a dedicated navigation light system.

Clearly there are tradeoffs to this approach but they do buy me a lot of simplicity: no 12V battery, no wires, less weight, and significantly less expense.

(The portable nav lights use four AA batterys each. I use rechargable batteries. Theoreticaly, I could charge them using my USB battery charger connected to a 2A portable solar panel I have in a bag on the boat, but I've never done that. I DO use the portable solar panel to charge my phone during longer trips, and that works nicely because I can put everything away in the cabin when I'm done and don't need a permanent panel screwed to the deck).
Titania, launched January 2015
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Re: No Electronics No Bilge Pump....?

Postby jwv630 on Sun Mar 11, 2018 7:05 am


Good thoughts; many thanks.

Jimmy V
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:12 pm

Re: No Electronics No Bilge Pump....?

Postby riverron on Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:50 am

Hey Jimmy,
I am installing an electrical system, because of wanting to have a GPS and radio. I am also a computer nerd and have to have one! :lol:
I will probably install navigation lights too, but probably not a necessity since most of my sailing will be day sailing.

As for the bilge pump, I still am undecided. The cockpit is self draining, so if any major holes or leaks, I agree with Craig that it would probably not keep up. You can probably get some type of manual pump just for safety. If you are planning on keeping her in the water or moored somewhere for an extended amount of time, I would probably get one. It could help for slow leaks.

I think everyone's use and requirements will differ, so I don't think there is a single answer for you. Go with what you feel is right with safety first in mind.

Where on the Bay do you sail?

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Location: Richmond Virginia

Re: No Electronics No Bilge Pump....?

Postby Wayne G on Mon Mar 12, 2018 9:06 pm

As I use my PocketShip primarily for day sailing I opted not to install any electrical systems, with the exception of a bilge pump. While its not necessary to have this pump it is a nice feature if the bilge fills with rain water (I probably pumped out over 10 gallons after Hurricane Irma) or if a centerboard inspection hatch has inadvertently been left open. I also have a cheap West Marine hand operated pump but as the suction is part of the pump base and is restricted by the centerboard trunk from getting down to the bottom of the boat it is not very effective. I have battery operated LED navigation lights for the odd time I am out on the water after dark.
The pump is a 12vdc diaphragm pump and it is wired back to the forward compartment. I use a small sports bike type 12v battery (very light) and only bring it aboard when there is water to be pumped out.The suction is through 3/8 tubing and runs to the lowest part of the boat between bulkhead 4 and 5 and has a filter on the end. The outlet is also through 3/8 tubing and discharges into the centerboard void. I drilled this before the deck was fitted and the hole is sealed with epoxy and packed around the tubing with silicone.
pump.jpeg (72.54 KiB) Viewed 1003 times
Wayne Gray
Orlando Florida
Wayne G
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Re: No Electronics No Bilge Pump....?

Postby jwv630 on Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:21 am

Hi Ron and Wayne

Many thanks for your thoughtful replies.

Hmmm. VHF radio...hadn’t thought of that. I have a handheld but really like the security and range of a ‘hardwired’ unit. I wonder if a solar powered/other system might be a source of juice....or perhaps Wayne’s idea of bringing along a small bike battery to power the VHF in an emergency. Of course, I’ll have a cell phone on me but....

GPS: i’ll use my handheld Garmin 78; perhaps back it up with Navionics on an iPad or my cell phone.

We do our boating in the northern Chesapeake; specifically Middle river. Let me know if you are up this way.

Thanks. Very creative idea on the bilge pump and considering it.

Jimmy V
Posts: 128
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:12 pm

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