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 Post subject: Bilge pump for tripping
PostPosted: March 5th, 2010, 12:43 pm 
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Location: Merrickville, Ontario, Canada
I was curious if anybody has tried a electric bilge pump in a tandem whitewater canoe during tripping to remove the water taken over the bow/gunwales during long rapids (assuming no spray skirt). I have found a couple of websites on the topic, but just looking for more experiences.


Thanks,

Allan.


Last edited by ayates on March 5th, 2010, 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: March 5th, 2010, 3:22 pm 
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I am switching to a hand pump, or possibly even to a battery pump. The reason is that, with a boat full of gear, there is often no place to swipe a bailer. And beaching to dump the boat can be equally impractical because, when full of gear, it is very difficult or impossible to tip so the water runs out. :doh:


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PostPosted: March 5th, 2010, 9:45 pm 
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The electric bilge pumps seem to be getting quite popular with the OC1 and C1 paddlers as well as with some of the sea kayakers. I have been toying with the idea of an electric bilge pump for my boats for some time, and coincidently had just purchased a couple of bilge pumps this morning and was planning on picking up batteries tomorrow. Of course, I had been planning on using them in the whitewater boat rather than in the tripping boat.

Each installation (pump, battery, otterbox, lines, etc) is probably pushing 6-8 lbs. With a tandem tripping boat, you would likely require two good sized pumps and batteries, say 12-15 lb. If you are doing any kind of portaging, that is going to start to be a weighty burden to carry. Particularly if they are left in the canoe during portages.

The other consideration is that if your trips are more than a few days to a week and you use the pump fairly frequently, you may end up running out of juice and bailing the old fashioned way. Of course, you could carry extra batteries at about 4 lb each.

I think that practically speaking, an old milk jug is probably the way to go for any serious canoe tripping.

cheers
dave

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PostPosted: March 7th, 2010, 9:05 pm 
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I think your weight estimates are a bit on the high side. I especially would not double the weights for a tandem boat. An electric pump in a tandem lake tripper would be used only for a special circumstance where waves happened to put water in the boat. We were 13 days in Quetico, sometimes in whitecaps, and we didn't take any water. But if we had, a bailer would have been less useful than a hand pump, because as I noted before, in a boat full of gear, there often is no place to swipe a bailer.


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PostPosted: March 8th, 2010, 11:42 am 
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Solo playboats and tandem tripping boats are very different, and as a result I do not believe an electric bilge pump would be effective in a big old tandem for the following reasons:

1. In a playboat your weight is centered, the pump is located right in front, right under or just behind the saddle where most of the water is. In a tandem your weight will most likely not be centered, and will vary depending on who is in the bow, stern, and how much gear you are carrying and where it is packed. Choosing a good location would be difficult.
2. The rocker in playboats forces most of the water to the center when the boat is flat. When I get water in my tripping boat its spread out throughout more of the boat. An electric pump won't suck it dry either, so that last 1/2" - 1" of water is still in the bottom of the boat
3. A tripping boats holds a lot of water compared to a playboat with fully inflated bags! Assuming it was positioned well, it would be working OT to empty the boat!


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PostPosted: March 8th, 2010, 12:14 pm 
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Doug, Good posting. I've never messed with a pump in my playboat or even playing whitewater in my tripping solo, as usually it's unsual that I'd ship that much water in a long rapid.

I was trying to wrap my mind around the idea, and was picturing a bilge pump back more in the vicinity of the stern paddler as underway, a canoe seems to develop enough of a bow up attitude under way that it seemed to be the best location. But I too anticipated that the sheer volume of water in a loaded tandem, and that the pump won't purge the boat totally dry really don't seem to add up to enough benefit for the finicky nature of bilge pumps in canoes.

Good insight....

PK


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PostPosted: March 8th, 2010, 2:05 pm 
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The big problem is when you trip with a 285 pound guy who brings everything to base camp for two weeks in an oversize mammoth pack you tend to ship water and little fish all the time just doing a simple eddy. A bilge pump in this instance is almost mandatory!

Barry

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PostPosted: March 8th, 2010, 2:17 pm 
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on boats as big as and larger than the vertige X the standard seems to be twin pumps.
Honest? they would be a collosal pain in the ass. It's extra weight (couple pounds) will not last two weeks, more like two days of steady use

the litium ion set ups even if you do them yourself are over 100 bucks.

I don't see a return and your going to have the front or back of your boat extra weighted for portaging.
if they are under the airbags for protection from gear dropping then you aren't in the low point of the boat. put them out and you'll break the casing.....really, some put in's are a throw or drop from a shelf into the boat.

we have a couple home made set ups in our open solos and they haven't been moved or used in over a year. There's no way we'd use them for tripping but that's us.
IF, you will be away from shore and need to empty quickly and cannot get a bailer in there (like having a cover) I could see the application but we are talking having dual pumps

clear the water faster than by hand....I'd stick with a hand pump if you can't get a bailer in there

honestly, the bilge pumps I've seen are used by big guys in big boats OR duals in a specialized big water play tandem (Quebecers) or engineering types who just had to find a new way :P
or lazy asses like me who seldom has the thing charged and end up dumping my boat anyways

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PostPosted: March 8th, 2010, 5:13 pm 
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If the tandem canoe is trimmed properly with gear, then the water will be accessible to a centrally mounted pump. No electric pump reliably removes the last 1/2" of water. The object of an electric pump is to quickly remove MOST of the water to restore your ability to manage the boat in rapids or in heavy lake water. Hand pumps and bailers can't do that.

It is certainly true that solo, rockered, whitewater boats are better set up for an electric pump. And as I said earlier, my experience on wavy lakes is that a pump would seldom contribute to the tandem paddling experience. But for long, wavy rapids a pump might make a big difference.

I am not aware that solar charging has been proved effective for the batteries used with electric pumps. And remote Canadian trips may be in sunless conditions for days. That is a serious issue.


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PostPosted: March 9th, 2010, 9:36 am 
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ezwater wrote:
I think your weight estimates are a bit on the high side. I especially would not double the weights for a tandem boat.


EZ, I believe that you are correct. I checked the weight on my system. Each pump weighs in at about 0.85 lb without the discharge hose. The batteries I have are 12 V 5Ah SLA weighing in at 4.5 lb each (there are lighter weight options for batteries). I would estimate the weight of the switch, fuse, discharge line, and a small dry box at about 1 lb.

So, each individual system (based on a fairly heavy battery), would be about 6.5 lb. If you totally duplicate that system (say one pump just behind the bowman, and the second near the sternman) the overall weight would be 13 lb. This is on the lower end of my original estimate, but is not likely to go up much (unless spare batteries are carried). The weight could go down if lighter batteries are used, or if both pumps share a battery. Of course the available operating time would also change.

The pump systems would definitely allow loaded open canoes that become filled with water to have a better chance of negotiating the remainder of a rapid without swimming. However, given various issues identified in the posts in this thread, I personnally would consider a spray skirt before going to a pump system in a tripping canoe.

regards
dave

regards
dave

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PostPosted: March 9th, 2010, 3:57 pm 
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Maybe its just me, but I find this thread very curious.

If I get the question and issue right: Tripping scenario, not playboating, and running big water, with a lot of water coming over the side, purposely with no spraydecks, and so much so that it will fill the boat, but with a continued desire to paddle without having to bail and sponge, and relying on a bilge pump????? :o

Hi Ayates - Good question, but I think this is asking for big trouble IMO. When running big water like that that is so big that significant volumes are coming over the decks, then you are not in perpetual running mode. You are inevitably eddying out to scout the next section, or with running scouts (not exiting the boat, and standing up and eyeing up the lines if it is relatively straight forward stuff). Otherwise you are setting yourself up for some long swims. So there is time to quickly bail and sponge.

I think the fundamental problem here is not using a spraydeck. There are limits to open canoes, which I think you are crossing with the original proposal into a wilderness tripping danger zone. I think spray decks are essential for running the conditions being proposed here (constant over-the-decks water). To me, it is illogical on trips to want to be shipping huge amounts of water without wanting to keep it out in the first place. (Playboatting is different of course). Being on a long remote wilderness trip and having a bilge pump malfunction is not where you want to be. You want a deck. Long swims in wilderness conditions are not benign events. People get hurt or die sometimes.

Open lake crossing in big chop in an open boat, relying on a bilge pump instead of a deck, is asking for a serious accident. On big cold lakes, if you have to "rely" on a deck, its probably a stay on shore day. It can be a life or death issue for hypothermia, and possible related drowning.

Pool and drop rivers, in summer in warm water where you go without a deck, and occasionally run something big and knowingly will fill up by the time you hit the recovery pool, is no big deal, and not a bilge pump issue, since then it is an easy bail and sponge and go, or dump and go. To carry the extra weight of a bilge pump on such a trip with few filling event areas is illogical to me.

Spraydecks still let in water of course. But you will never get it all out with a bilge pump with all the packs in there, and the uneven sloshing, as others have mentioned. Big boat sponges are very good at quickly mopping up the bilge that is too shallow to bail. The packs will ooze water for a while too. You can eddy out without getting out of the boat, sponge out, and get going again. Then later sponge again as the water sloshes into new areas.

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PostPosted: March 9th, 2010, 5:12 pm 
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I've never posted in this section before, in fact because I'm not that interested in doing white water (at least not on purpose) have never really looked in. But when I saw that Hoop posted and 'cause I really liked his presentation at the WCS I thought, what the hell.

Oh ya what I was going to chime in on.......lets see...yes bilge pumps.

My question to the question is.......has anyone used automatic bailers like we put in marathon canoes. They're located usually in front of the stern paddler and levered down when needed, (and pull up flush with the bottom of the boat when not) they have a one way flapper valve and work via the suction created as the canoe moves through the water. Sorry, had a hard time trying to describe this one.

Ken


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PostPosted: March 10th, 2010, 7:03 pm 
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Ken

I'm not sure I understand your post (but I think I do).

I have a friend who had a pump (non-electric) integrated into his pedestal. It could be operated with one hand and would get all the water except the last half inch or so.

I agree with Hoop (of course), in a tripping situation this just seems pointless. Anytime I've been in a tripping boat that was "swamped" the gunnels were always going below the surface of the water, as fast as one pumped it out more comes in. An electric pump would be good for a "lazy" person once you have the boat on shore but while still running the river/lake I just can't see it working.

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PostPosted: March 10th, 2010, 8:01 pm 
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I think rhumline is referring to a Bernoulli effect pump built into the bottom of the boat. They have been used by marathon racers for decades. To work, the boat has to be going fast enough that the water moving past the hull will pull water out through the drop-down chute.

Sometimes a boat will be way too full of water to be driven at the velocity needed to draw water out through such a pump. And sometimes, in whitewater for example, one will not want to attempt the speed needed for water extraction.

That's where a good electric bilge pump shines. It will empty a boat full of water in a few minutes.


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PostPosted: March 11th, 2010, 8:11 am 
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ezwater wrote:
I think rhumline is referring to a Bernoulli effect pump built into the bottom of the boat. They have been used by marathon racers for decades. To work, the boat has to be going fast enough that the water moving past the hull will pull water out through the drop-down chute.


You are correct sir, and I agree it really wouldn't work in a white water situ.

I still have a brand new one I picked up in the mid '80's. It never got installed in my marathon boat and I keep thinking I'll put it in the next tripping boat I make, but just hate to cut the hole.

Ken


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