If your boat has a regular leak you probably know if the bilge pump works; however, if the bilge is normally fairly dry you may not really know how efficient the bilge pumping system is. Most pumps are pretty good at removing small amounts of water, but what about a flooding situation? How much water can your electric or manual pumps move individually or together in an actual test? Test the pumps by putting a known quantity of fresh water in the bilge (perhaps five gallons/20liters) and timing how long it takes to empty the bilge using each pump and both at the same time. Add this to your “to-do” list before the start of the boating season. Read about bilge pumps, Mariner’s Guide pp. 42-44, flooding, p.172, and collision mat, p.103, for ideas.
Priscilla Travis spends more than 110 days each year on the water, takes photos, and writes about nautical topics.