Q & A — April 2004
By Capt. Ken Kreisler
Back Me Up
| Installing a second
bilge pump, getting a good finish with teak oil, tips for working with
gasket sealant, and more.
I have a 47-footer
and want to put in another bilge pump. Where is the best place to install
a backup pump?
B.V., via e-mail
That said, one way to install a backup bilge pump is to place it at the same level as the primary bilge pump with the float switch, if so equipped, higher. The float switch should not be more than four to six inches above the primary. This way, if the primary can’t keep up or fails, the secondary will kick in.
The other method, which I prefer, is to have the backup pump and switch higher than the primary. In this setup, should any debris block the operation of the primary, it shouldn’t prevent the backup from kicking in.
When determining how high to mount your backup pump, look at what components you need to protect against rising water, particularly your battery box. Also, make sure your backup pump has a higher capacity than your primary. Why? Because once the backup is in operation, you already have too much water coming in.
Whatever bilge-pump system you have, whether for a small boat or large, make sure it is of the highest quality. Cheap out on this piece of equipment, and you could put your boat on the bottom.
Careful maintenance is also crucial, and daily checks, if possible, should be done on all components: float switches, hoses, electrical connections, and pump housings. Always make sure there is no debris in the bilge that can cause problems. A plastic cage over the float switch can help. Don’t wait to inspect or change an impeller you suspect is damaged or faulty. In fact, make sure you have several replacements onboard at all times.
What are some suggestions
for getting a good finish with teak oil? L.K., via e-mail
One more tip: To keep up the finish, you should wipe down your teak and apply a polishing coat of teak oil about every four to six months.
This article originally appeared in the March 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.