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Hatem

Newbies with wet bilges (how to dry them safely and efficiently).

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Even though I've been boating for about 5 years, now, I still consider myself a newbie and hardly ashamed of it.  That said, I discovered a method just last week to dry out the bilge after a rain storm if you get enough water in there that the bilge pump (which is mounted a bit too high to suck up that last gallon or two from the bottom) can't get it out, this is literally the BEST and safest way to do it without contorting yourself with a sponge and a bucket and keep filling it and emptying it out.

First of all, be sure you have access to a 110vt receptacle (outlet) that is GFI (Ground Fault Interupted). I happen to have a few on my power pole at my slip.

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Hook up a heavy duty, light ended cord to it and make sure the cord is laying safely on the dock with no chance of it being too close to the edge to fall off.

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Then wrap it around a grab rail near the engine compartment/bilge so that if someone tugs on it by accident, it doesn't pull off and fall in the water.  These are all simple things I've learned through many Osha classes as I am a builder by trade.

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Then get yourself one of these 5HP Ridgid, 4 gallon portable dry/wet vacuums from Home Depot (I have something like 8 of these they're so awesome and useful and are cheap).  The only fitting that doesn't come with it that you have to buy separately is the long, skinny square tube and the round brush but they come in a separate kit.  Don't FORGET TO TAKE OUT THE FILTER when using it as a wet vac. 

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Add one or two of the flexible hose extensions before you add the two solid ones and you have all the reach you need to get every single spot in the bilge and suck it dry without bending 1 inch!

Of course, check for gas fumes before turning the vacuum on to avoid the obvious and start vacuuming all the water out.

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Empty the vacuum as needed and in less than 15 minutes, the rain-filled bilge is dry as a bone. 

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With the flexible hose attachments only, you can even reach way under the engine all the way back to the butt plug if the boat is stern heavy and you can't get all the water to the forward bilge. I even get behind the swim platform and the Fireboy extinguisher and all sorts of tight spaces.  When done, pack everything and put it in your dock box or back in the truck/vehicle as I avoid leaving all this stuff on the boat to reduce clutter and weight.

I got this idea from @SST and expanded on it a little bit, so thanks dude.  And I hope this helps some of you Newbies who might be having this irritating rain water-filled bilge issue like me until you find the source and seal it up. Cheers.

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Good idea, I have the same wet vac and will give that a try. Seeing an inch or two of water down there is troubling.

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On ‎6‎/‎29‎/‎2019 at 9:16 AM, trhoad said:

Good idea, I have the same wet vac and will give that a try. Seeing an inch or two of water down there is troubling.

Thanks for commenting.  Before this I used to not wash the deck and seats and all the interior of the boat and instead, use a couple of buckets one with soap and the other with straight water and spend hours on my knees washing and wiping and drying.  Now I grab the hose, set it on "Straight" and spray the living crap our of everything.  I open the seat cushions up and clean those ever so painfully dirty gutters and insets where the cup holders & speakers are and the windshield and the entire floor!  Most of the water goes overboard out the thruhulls but a lot of other areas drain right down the keel gutter and into the bilge.  So I don't worry about how much water I use to clean the boat sparkling clean now because I know all that water that ends up in the bilge will take me 5 minutes to pull out.  Love it.

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That's exactly what I do. Before Sears pulled the plug, I went over to the store and picked up a Craftsman "mini" wetvac. Connected the extension and it gulps up all that rain water. I had a larger wetvac before that but it was tough getting the hose under the engine. Mini is much easier.

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5 hours ago, SST said:

That's exactly what I do. Before Sears pulled the plug, I went over to the store and picked up a Craftsman "mini" wetvac. Connected the extension and it gulps up all that rain water. I had a larger wetvac before that but it was tough getting the hose under the engine. Mini is much easier.

I'm glad you posted, you know why?  Because I gave @Toddler credit for where I got this idea when it wasn't him but actually YOU!  I just totally forgot, my friend.  I hope you forgive me! :D I did correct it so we're all good now, but have no idea why I thought it was him and not you?!  Oh wait, I know, it's called OLD AGE SUCKS!

It's 4:45am ATM and I'm heading out solo again to do some early morning fishing IF the weather holds out long enough.  Supposedly it's supposed to get really nasty at some point today.  As soon as I finish this post, I'm writing an itinerary for where I'm going to be and what routes I will be taking and location and will check in with my wife and son and friend every hour or so.  I'll be doing another write-up on that aspect of boating alone because I found certain things that I did the other day that I thought were very helpful incase I fell out of the boat and it wasn't anchored and no one was around.  A few good ideas this old-timer USCGAUX gave me when he inspected my boat at the marina last week and were actually things I learned during my seamanship course.  It'll be a good refresher for most salt-boaters.

 

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3 hours ago, Hatem said:

I'm glad you posted, you know why?  Because I gave @Toddler credit for where I got this idea when it wasn't him but actually YOU!  I just totally forgot, my friend.  I hope you forgive me! :D I did correct it so we're all good now, but have no idea why I thought it was him and not you?!  Oh wait, I know, it's called OLD AGE SUCKS!

It's 4:45am ATM and I'm heading out solo again to do some early morning fishing IF the weather holds out long enough.  Supposedly it's supposed to get really nasty at some point today.  As soon as I finish this post, I'm writing an itinerary for where I'm going to be and what routes I will be taking and location and will check in with my wife and son and friend every hour or so.  I'll be doing another write-up on that aspect of boating alone because I found certain things that I did the other day that I thought were very helpful incase I fell out of the boat and it wasn't anchored and no one was around.  A few good ideas this old-timer USCGAUX gave me when he inspected my boat at the marina last week and were actually things I learned during my seamanship course.  It'll be a good refresher for most salt-boaters.

 

He may have given you the idea as I don't recall posting the Craftsman purchase.  Not a problem.

My friends have a boat but no electricity at their slip. Big sponge! I tried that for awhile but that became excessively annoying while trying to get under the engine at the drain plug.

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Ok, your going to hate me!! I don't see the problem with having a little water in the bilge. It happens, rain, washing the deck and engine work. Our boats sit in water and are already in a high moisture environment.   

 

I would be more worried about if something lets go, will your pumps handle the water. If one of my bellows lets go my stock pump could never keep up. I added extra pumps, but to each his own.

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There were hand powered water pumps. They look like a old  style bicycle pump. Will do a web search for them.

Search     Seasense Hand Bilge Pump  It has about 450 reviews.

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On ‎6‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 8:49 AM, SST said:

He may have given you the idea as I don't recall posting the Craftsman purchase.  Not a problem.

My friends have a boat but no electricity at their slip. Big sponge! I tried that for awhile but that became excessively annoying while trying to get under the engine at the drain plug.

No it was you, you had just mentioned that you vacuumed the water out and it was a quick procedure and that's what gave me the idea to try it.  Can't believe how it's so much faster, better reaching and most importantly, easier than that sponge nightmare. 

On ‎6‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 7:46 PM, Iggy said:

Ok, your going to hate me!! I don't see the problem with having a little water in the bilge. It happens, rain, washing the deck and engine work. Our boats sit in water and are already in a high moisture environment.   

 

I would be more worried about if something lets go, will your pumps handle the water. If one of my bellows lets go my stock pump could never keep up. I added extra pumps, but to each his own.

It's not good to have water in your bilge, especially when your starter is at the bottom of the back of the engine and you and I are in the ocean where it gets choppy as heII, so that slop flopping around and getting parts like that all wet is really not a good thing and is better to be avoided.

As far as adding a secondary pump, no one would argue that's a bad idea, but open another thread for that if you want to suggest it to newbies.

On ‎6‎/‎30‎/‎2019 at 8:54 PM, cyclops2 said:

There were hand powered water pumps. They look like a old  style bicycle pump. Will do a web search for them.

Search     Seasense Hand Bilge Pump  It has about 450 reviews.

We're trying to move with technology, Clopadopadus, not regress against it!  :D I see blow-boaters use that all the time when their bilge pump conks out.  I do prefer to check the bilge pump daily to be sure it's working and have a secondary one.

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that bilge is clean.  even looks like it was waxed.

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20 hours ago, rreale said:

that bilge is clean.  even looks like it was waxed.

After it was vacuumed, I had a mop which I used to mop that area and others and that's just the leftover of a wet mop surface wiped before it dried off completely.

But I have mixed a gelcoat batch and recorded the exact portions or yellow and brown pigment to add to bright white gelcoat to get that perfect, chaparral, slightly off-white gelcoat color.  Works great.  I'll be posting a how-to-do thread & video on that and soon how I'll be fixing the small crack on the motor mounts.

Portside mount is fine...but the starboard one is a bit hard to see because it's pretty small as it is but these are the kinda things that define "good maintenance" and how to take care of things before they get worst.

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but starboard could use a little help.

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I keep a shop vac in my dock box for the exact same reason. I don't like any water, even a little bit in my bilge.

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7 minutes ago, Chap243 said:

I keep a shop vac in my dock box for the exact same reason. I don't like any water, even a little bit in my bilge.

Just did it 10 minutes ago, judging by the amount I dumped out of that 4-gallon dry/wet shop vac, I had a good 3 gallons in there at least.

Now I'm off to gas up since I got a little under 1/2 a tank and never like to run it close plus I'm going a bit heavy offshore to see it there are bigger fish biting, don't want to take any chances.   I'm gonna do a write up for Newbies on fueling up at the dock.  I'll try to add a video to the pics and its gonna be about as anal as can be as far as safety is concerned. 

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Thanks for the post.  After a good rain which it does often here in NC, I get at least 8 gallons of water or more in my bilge.  Usually, it stops right before my bilge pump.  I too simply use a shopvac to get it up.   If you review the post on the "boat talk" section of this forum regarding a major water leak in the transom area of the boat, where a mech forgot to put  a hose clamp on the gentlemen's hose going to his cooler you'll see just how easy it is to sink while underway.  This brings to mind "high water alarms" in the bilge".  In the new Chaps any boat over a certain length usually come with one and are mandated by law.  However, I have a 2004 and mine didn't come with one.  Here is the point I want to bring up.  Most high water alarms are placed above the bilge pump.  To me I don't agree with this and I installed mine to the bilge pump itself.  I don't want to know I have high water in my bilge when the water is already past my pump.  I'd rather know when my pump is coming on.  Because honestly if your bilge pump is coming on, you already have too much water in there.  Once it's above the pump, you don't have much time to take appropriate action before it reaches your starter and other electrical components that will cause the boat to stall out and short just about all electrically item in the boat, to include that bilge pump. 

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37 minutes ago, Water Dawg 6 said:

Thanks for the post.  After a good rain which it does often here in NC, I get at least 8 gallons of water or more in my bilge.  Usually, it stops right before my bilge pump.  I too simply use a shopvac to get it up.   If you review the post on the "boat talk" section of this forum regarding a major water leak in the transom area of the boat, where a mech forgot to put  a hose clamp on the gentlemen's hose going to his cooler you'll see just how easy it is to sink while underway.  This brings to mind "high water alarms" in the bilge".  In the new Chaps any boat over a certain length usually come with one and are mandated by law.  However, I have a 2004 and mine didn't come with one.  Here is the point I want to bring up.  Most high water alarms are placed above the bilge pump.  To me I don't agree with this and I installed mine to the bilge pump itself.  I don't want to know I have high water in my bilge when the water is already past my pump.  I'd rather know when my pump is coming on.  Because honestly if your bilge pump is coming on, you already have too much water in there.  Once it's above the pump, you don't have much time to take appropriate action before it reaches your starter and other electrical components that will cause the boat to stall out and short just about all electrically item in the boat, to include that bilge pump. 

Good points, WD.  If you think about having 8 gallons spread out between the bilge and the keel gutter and the bilge pump was still too high to pick any of it up (same as mine and I'm sure almost every other Chaparral or other boat brand owner out there has) that tells you how much water is sloshing around in there.  And for Iggy to claim that it's ok to have that much water bouncing around is the most ridiculous thing I've heard  here in a while.  Frankly, it is BAD ADVICE! 

And you folks with cruisers whom have cabins that have showers and sinks that actually drain into the forward bilges which if by chance don't work, they'll overflow into the keel gutter and ALL that water will end up in the bilge as well!  So you have to keep an eye on it like you do and always drying it up and your idea of lowering the active alarm is excellent.  Now that, is GOOD ADVICE.

So I also have a secondary bilge pump I'll be hooking up soon and will also open a thread on that.  I figure out a way to install it lower than the stock pump in my boat that you can see in those pics above that Chaparral does so it will be exciting to show that.  You're 100% right, if you had 8 gallons of water (which BTW I've also had that after 2 or 3 straight days of rain here in the North East even with the boat covered) and the bilge pump didn't even go on because it was set up too high?  That's just bad engineering.

 

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The re is no federal law stopping us from putting the pump on the center line & at the rear most location to allow complete pumping out . Stopped or running the boat.

DO IT.  I added more wire & water proofed, sealing butt splices.  DONE. 

 

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On ‎7‎/‎4‎/‎2019 at 7:08 PM, cyclops2 said:

The re is no federal law stopping us from putting the pump on the center line & at the rear most location to allow complete pumping out . Stopped or running the boat.

DO IT.  I added more wire & water proofed, sealing butt splices.  DONE. 

That will be one of my next installation threads with pictures since I'm the ONLY one who does that. Shows an entire thread from an easy operation like this to a wicked difficult and complicated installation like a windlass anchor including the cutting of the hull and all that good stuff that NO ONE ELSE here does at all!  Look at the post above that tried to discredit this thread and start talking about the importance of bellows giving up and water coming in and current pumps not being able to keep up and him "installing" a secondary bilge pump in his boat just for that and I bet you $5 he didn't even come close to doing that install himself and had that fancy yacht club he belongs to do it LOLOLOL!  That's why I always say "pics or it never happened!" Clopadopadopadus! :)

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