In this post we explain what a bilge pump is, the types of bilge pumps that exist, and how they work.

What is the bilge?

The bilge is the lowest part of a ship’s interior. There, waste usually accumulates from various liquids that have been leaking from the deck or from a leakage point inside:

  • Rain.
  • Seawater.
  • Cleaning water.
  • Oil leaks.
  • Fuel leaks.

Therefore, the bilge contains many elements which are harmful to the health of the crew.

Also, the presence of water in such a low area can compromise the buoyancy of the boat. In addition, if the accumulated water is salty, it will cause corrosion of the metal parts. So, the bilge must be drained as soon as possible and kept free of debris.

For this reason, it is very important to have several bilge pumps to drain the bilge and keep it clean and dry. As you will see, the bilge pump is a very important safety feature on any boat, so it is convenient to have reliable and quality bilge pumps.

Types of bilge pumps

Bilge pumps for large vessels are usually centrifugal. Some are manual, i.e. they must be operated by a person. These are often used as additional pumps or when the other pumps fail or there is no electricity.

On the other hand, there are also electric pumps. Some can be activated automatically by sensors and others are activated at the touch of a switch. In this way, the bilge pump only works when it is needed and saves energy. In addition, it can also work when there is no crew.

Finally, bilge pumps can be fixed or portable. To cope with emergency situations, it is advisable to have a high-capacity manual bilge pump in case the electricity fails, and several electric pumps positioned at various points in case the boat heels.

How a bilge pump works

As mentioned, the bilge pump drains the water inside the vessel, but where does it go? Clearly this untreated water cannot be emptied into the sea. However, modern pumps already incorporate filters that remove the harmful substances from the water. They are then stored for removal in the harbour.

As with all pumps, bilge pumps need regular maintenance and parts replacement. So, if you need spare parts for your bilge pump or need to change the entire pump, contact our team for a free quote. You can obtain bilge pumps from Azcue Pumps and KSB Itur, such as Azcue CA and Azcue VRX, among others. Follow us on LinkedIn!