Skip to main content

Make A Portable Pump

The cockpit lockers on my 20-foot trailersailer leak because the lid destroys any seal that is attached to it. I’ve resigned myself to needing a waterproof container for anything I store there, but I still have to deal with the water that has leaked in. My solution was to attach a small electric bilgepump (with a hose) to a handle. I used 1/8" by 1" aluminum bar stock, which is easy to

The cockpit lockers on my 20-foot trailersailer leak because the lid destroys any seal that is attached to it. I’ve resigned myself to needing a waterproof container for anything I store there, but I still have to deal with the water that has leaked in. My solution was to attach a small electric bilgepump (with a hose) to a handle.

I used 1/8" by 1" aluminum bar stock, which is easy to bend, for the handle. Three bends were required—one at the bottom for the pump mounting; another for the handle; and a third for the on-off switch (see illustration). If I could work heavier stock, I would use 1/4" by 2" aluminum bar stock.

After bending the handle to the proper shape, I drilled a hole in the upper end of the bar stock for a simple SPST on-off toggle switch to disconnect the positive side of the power to the pump. The handle is a short length of 1" dowel stock that I split lengthwise. I drilled two holes through the aluminum and in one side of the dowel. Two stainless-steel screws hold the handle parts together.

I chose a small 360-gph pump, which I fastened in place with a stainless-steel hose clamp. I wrapped the pump with several layers of electrical tape to cushion the motor and give the clamp a better grip. The strainer can be removed for cleaning.

I used clear hose (photo below), but I recommend the lighter corrugated bilge-pump hose. The power cord is 16-gauge duplex wire. Ten feet is long enough to reach all the important areas on my boat; if your boat is larger, make it longer. I connected the cord to the pump with adhesive-lined butt crimp connectors that shrink around the wires when they are heated. I also applied several coats of liquid electrical tape to make sure the wires were sealed.

After cutting the positive wire and hooking the ends to the on-off switch with adhesive-lined crimp ring terminals, I made a loop in the power cord to make sure the switch connection is not strained. Electrical tape secures the loop to the lower side of the handle and also covers the switch’s exposed triennials. I taped the power cord and hose to the handle in several places.

I put a cigarette-lighter connector at the power end of the cord so I can use onboard DC power by plugging into the auxiliary power socket in the switch panel. A cigarette-lighter socket with alligator clips lets me use the pump anywhere I can carry a 12-volt battery. In addition to pumping out boats and dinghies, I’ve used the pump to empty water tanks with access ports and to empty a bath tub with a clogged drain. In short, it’s a handy thing to have.

Related

Alexforbes Archangel1-1 (14)

Cape2Rio Draws to a Close

With just four boats still on their way, it has been a long road to Rio for the fleet competing in this year’s Cape2Rio. Larry Folsom’s American-flagged Balance 526 Nohri took line honors and a win in the MORCA fleet, finishing with a corrected time of 18 days, 20 hours, and 42 ...read more

_01-Steve-and-Irene-1

Close Encounters: A Star to Steer By

I first met Steve and Irene Macek in the proper way—in an anchorage full of bluewater cruising boats. This was in St. Georges, Bermuda, in the spring of 2019. Theirs, without doubt, was the most distinctive boat there—an immaculate, three-masted, double-ended Marco Polo schooner ...read more

14_01_230123_TOR_JOF_0414-2048x

The Ocean Race Leg 2 Kicks Off

After a trial by fire start to the race and only a brief stop for limited fixes, the five IMOCA 60 crews in The Ocean Race set off for Cape Town, South Africa, early on January 25. Despite arriving somewhat battered in Cabo Verde, an African island nation west of Senegal, the ...read more

Lead

Cruising: Smitten with a Wooden Boat

I was sailing down the inner channel of Marina del Rey under a beautiful red sunset when Nills, one of the crew members on my boat, pointed out an unusual and unique-looking 40-foot gaff-rigged wooden cutter tied to the end of a dock. Its classic appearance was a stark contrast ...read more

Screen-Shot-2023-01-23-at-12.03.19-PM

Racing Recap: Leg One of The Ocean Race

New to spectating The Ocean Race? Managing Editor Lydia Mullan breaks down everything you need to know to get started. ...read more

image00001

From the Editor: Keeping the Hands in Hands-On

SAIL Editor-in-Chief Wendy Mitman Clarke enjoys a sunny autumn cruise in her Peterson 34 on the Chesapeake Bay. It was late afternoon just after the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis when I climbed aboard the last boat on the schedule. I and others who review and sail boats for ...read more

P1580711

B&G Announces New Zeus S Chartplotter

B&G has long been putting out top-of-the-line electronics, but the new Zeus S Chartplotter is a new take on the best way to give sailors the exact information they need, when they need it. “So many more people sail shorthanded these days, whether as a couple or when they’re ...read more

00-LEAD-DSCF1601

Charter: Mission to Mars

In the wake of the pandemic, many sailors are seeking adventure and grabbing onto a vision of their best lives. For some, that may mean sailing across the Atlantic with the ARC (Atlantic Rally for Cruisers) while for others, it could be a yacht charter in the Caribbean. The ...read more