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

DUFOUR_470.JM-LIOT-15

Boat Review: Dufour 470

Annapolis may be the sailing capital of America, but if you looked around the United States Sailboat Show last fall, you would have no choice but to conclude most sailboats are now built in Europe. The Dufour 470 is a good example of a modern French performance cruiser. DESIGN & ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_6563

Close Encounters: Captain Sarah Schelbert

I met Captain Sarah Schelbert back in 2019 while on the boat trip from hell aboard a seaworthy but poorly run Triton 28 in the western Caribbean. I was trying to help the owner sail his boat back to Florida from the Rio Dulce, in Guatemala. Outbound from the river basin, we had ...read more

02-Voice-of-the-Oceans---sailboat-Kat-11

Raising Their Voices

Many of us who are cruising sailors have been sailing mid-ocean or walking along a perfect beach in the middle of seemingly nowhere, only to be appalled at the amount of plastic trash we find. Few of us, however, have taken that disheartening reality and turned it into a ...read more

IC37racingonSunday-Photo-by-Paul-Todd

IC37 North American Championship

This past weekend saw 20 IC37s off Newport, Rhode Island engage in fast and furious one-design racing with the win going to Peter McClennen’s Gamecock. “It’s huge,” said McClennen of the win. “I think of the one-designs of this club going back to the New York 30 [built in ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_2056

South Pacific Storm Prep

Having set ourselves the task of transforming our recently purchased Open 66 ex-Vendée Globe racer, NV, into a performance family cruiser, my partner, Timo, and I found ourselves (extremely) high and dry as cyclone season approached. The favorite cyclone strategy in Fiji is to ...read more

00-Alexe-1---GUaGKDY4-single-boat-sailing-away-from-skyline,-Hill-Holiday

Cruising: Find Your Own Adventure

Whether they’re at the end of their collegiate career or after aging out of a summer sailing program, a lot of young sailors have a hard time finding a way to continue sailing as adults. Some of the barriers to sailing, including location, finances and time, can be hard to ...read more

00LEAD-IMG_2183

Heavy Hitters on Heavy Weather

“What’s the joke about heavy weather? You know it when you see it.” Figure 8 singlehander Randall Reeves drew laughs from the Cruising Club of America (CCA) sailors attending the forum “Heavy Weather Sailing: Bluewater Perspectives” as part of the CCA’s centennial celebration in ...read more

Nominne-Promo-2048x1149

Best Boat Nominees 2023

The more things change, the more they seem to stay the same. Some of it is timing. Some of it is just the way of the world. Either way, it can be fascinating to see the evolution of the boatbuilding industry over the years, as has been evident in SAIL magazine’s annual Best Boats ...read more