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Worry Free Bilge Pumping

Bilge hookups and emergency paralell switch for Prout Escale catamaranHere is a picture of our emergency parallel and bilge pump electrical hookup. As expected, Prout Catamarans installed nothing to help keep our Escale afloat besides a number of air chambers throughout the boat. Our initial emergency pump consisted of a small Rule unit that was attached to car jumper terminals. I guess the idea was that we'd only get holed in calm conditions as I would not rely on such a connection in a stink.

Thus, I bought two large Rule pumps, lots of 8AWG hookup wire (sheathed), rope, and hose. The hose was attached to the Rule pump as was the rope. the wires were plumbed in with waterproof connections. The rope/wire/hose assembly was then held together with lots of electrical tape - this allows me to lower the pump into position with the rope without putting undue pressure on the electric connection or the hose. To attach the pumps to the boat electrical system, I elected to mount a power-point in the electrical closet. The wires are long enough to reach from anywhere in the boat, and hose can go out of a local window as needed.

On the lower part of this former GPS mount you can see the two car alternator hookups for our bilge pumps. They are plumbed into the former Link Box circuit breaker for the furnace. These locking connectors prevent accidental disconnects and work great. I don't expect to get a lot of use out of them though since even a hole in the starboard hull did little more than cause the boat to list. Pumping the starboard water tanks dry by opening the freshwater taps eased that list almost completely.

All we need to do at this point is daub some silica gel on the contacts to prevent oxide formation in the salt laden air. Unlike many bilge-pump hookups I've seen, these alternator hookups can handle the current... The most use that these connectors suffer from is the annual water tank pump-out when we prepare the boat for winter storage. Best of all, alternator hookups for GM cars can be found in almost any car parts store and are inexpensive to boot. Too bad they aren't tinned...

The switch above is the emergency parallel switch for the battery banks. It is illuminated and shows at a glance whether the parallel solenoid has been manually activated (yes for red, white for no). We plan to affix a explanatory card over it soon.

Best Estimate for Time Required:

Find, buy parts, hookup 1 hour
Modify existing GPS mount to fit parts, wire up 1 hour
Install new wiring, mount unit, test 0.5 hours

Total 2.5 hours