Pressurized water systems are brilliantly convenient, but they raise the question of how to get water out of the tanks in the event of a power failure or unexpected demise of the pump. For this reason, builders of expensive yachts intended for long-distance cruising often offer the option of a manual galley foot pump for cold water in addition to the standard pressurized system. However, all too many boats lack this kind of sensible backup.
When I bought my boat in Greece, I added a manual pump. The total cost was under $30. It took less than a couple of hours to fit and doesn’t need an additional faucet.
It’s a simple arrangement, as the additional pump connects to the existing water system in parallel with the electric pump using T-joints. First, I connected a pipe to run between the tank and the electric pump and led this to the foot-operated manual pump. Next, I ran a second pipe from the output of the manual pump to the existing pipe run between the electric pump and the faucet.
The best way to cut a neat slot in the front of the cabinetry for the actuating arm of the pump is using a small router with a pre-made jig. If there’s not space to wield a router, drill holes at the top and bottom and use a jigsaw for the rest. The saw should be fitted with a fine-tooth laminate blade that cuts on the down stroke to avoid damage to the outer surface.
If you’re not accustomed to using laminate blades, it’s worth getting in some practice on a bit of scrap before starting on your boat’s actual joinery. Regular jigsaw blades pull down onto the surface of whatever you’re cutting. But with laminate blades, you have to apply pressure to prevent the blade from pushing the saw upward.