Features September 2010 Issue

Battle of the Electric Bilge Buddies

Practical Sailor reviews 8 high-capacity bilge pumps to see which one gets our test tank dry the fastest.

Not only do bilge pumps serve to clear incidental water, but they can also give the crew extra time when a boat is taking on water—time that can be spent repairing a leak, donning life jackets, or making a distress call. Practical Sailor tested more than a dozen centrifugal pumps from Attwood Marine Products, Rule/ITT Corp., Shurflo, and Johnson Pump. In this report, we look at the eight higher-capacity electric bilge pumps (output rated at or above 1,600 gallons per hour, or GPH) and see how they fared in exhaustive bench testing. A follow-up report next month will examine pumps rated for 1,500 GPH or less. Testers measured bilge pump flow rates and power ratings at two voltages and tested for compliance with the American Boat and Yacht Council’s standards for dry run performance. In the final analysis, we picked the best bilge pump based on performance, warranty, wiring, and price.

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