Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 10-03-2014, 09:15 AM   #1
Veteran Member
 
City: Auburn, Washington
Country: USA
Vessel Name: ???????
Vessel Model: ???????
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 30
How much water in bilge is normal?

Hello Everyone.

I am officially on my journey after looking at three boats this last week. I already can see the dramatic differences between owners of boats. In just three boats I have seen the meticulously well maintained and the I don't care so much maintenance.

This brings me to my question. How much water should be in the bilge? I noticed one boat with a bout 4-5 inches. It was well over the intake propeller. To me, 4-5 inches seems like a lot. I guess it depends on where the float is and when it is set to come on?

Happy Trawling.

Rick
__________________
Advertisement

ALL IN is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 09:22 AM   #2
Guru
 
City: Satsuma FL
Country: United States
Vessel Name: No Mo Trawla
Vessel Model: Hurricane SS188
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 1,677
When I bought my boat, it had 4-5 inches and it was determined the bilge pump wasn't working. It is also possible the pump was turned off at the electrical panel.

This is something the surveyor would address and typically the seller is asked to address it as a condition of sale,
__________________

Donsan is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 09:28 AM   #3
Enigma
 
RT Firefly's Avatar
 
City: Slicker?
Country: Bumpkin?
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 9,996
Greetings,
Welcome aboard. THIS is too much...
__________________
RTF
RT Firefly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 10:06 AM   #4
Guru
 
hollywood8118's Avatar
 
City: Port Townsend Washington
Country: USA
Vessel Name: " OTTER "
Vessel Model: Ocean Alexander Europa 40
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 1,482
Quote:
Originally Posted by RT Firefly View Post
Greetings,
Welcome aboard. THIS is too much...
that will buff right out on a low tide

HOLLYWOOD
hollywood8118 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 10:23 AM   #5
Senior Member
 
TONTOROSS's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Cool Water
Vessel Model: C&L Puget Trawler
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 252
When we bought our boat last year, there was water in the bilge - the broker & the surveyor both said some water was normal. After reading much info on "dry boats" I concluded that any water is bad. So took the false floor up in the bilge, replaced the aft bilge pump with a new one, plus wire. Cleaned the drain channels from one compartment to the other. Out went the water. The shower drains into the bilge. I'll plumb in a drain to the overboard. The less water the better. Someone in TF will more learned advice than I. Keep the thread alive & see what everyone has to say. Good luck, TONTO.
TONTOROSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 10:40 AM   #6
Guru
 
hmason's Avatar
 
City: Westport, CT
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Magic
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 46 Europa
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,901
Unless your bilge pump can pump the water overboard and then shutdown, jump off its mount and sponge up any residue, you will never have a perfectly dry bilge. When the pump shuts down, some small amount of water always flows back out of the pump. This is perfectly normal.

As to your question of how much water, anything significantly above the shutoff point of the float switch should be hunted down and addressed. Often air conditioning condensate is routed to the bilge in which case your bilge will never be perfectly dry if the air is running. If showers or sinks drain to the bilge they should be routed overboard or to a gray water tank or you will eventually have a smelly bilge.

Of great importance is how often the bilge pump cycles. You could have a leak and not know it if the bilge pump is continually cycling and pumping it overboard. A counter in the circuitry is a worthwhile investment. If you don't have one, you should be alert to frequent cycling of the pump and determine why it is cycling.

Hope this helps.

Howard
__________________
Howard
Magic, 1996 Grand Banks Europa
Westport, CT and Stuart, FL
hmason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 10:51 AM   #7
Guru
 
MYTraveler's Avatar
 
City: West Coast
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmason View Post
Unless your bilge pump can pump the water overboard and then shutdown, jump off its mount and sponge up any residue, you will never have a perfectly dry bilge. When the pump shuts down, some small amount of water always flows back out of the pump. This is perfectly normal.
Agreed that a bilge pump cannot remove all the water, but:
1) There should be enough ventilation that unless new water is coming into the bilge the residual water will evaporate. If it isn't evaporating, that humidity is not good for equipment.
2) No water should be entering the bilge in the first place. No hoses should be leaking, shaft seals should not drip, and the cockpit should be 100% self bailing. And the shower should drain into a sump that automatically pumps overboard. The only water I get on my boat is condensation from the ice maker, and I intend to rig up a sump to deal with that.
The pride and joy of having a dry and clean bilge cannot be overstated.
MYTraveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 11:05 AM   #8
Guru
 
City: gulf coast
Country: pinellas
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 2,199
If the water is above the pump switch something needs fixing.

One of my per peeves with most boats is that they don't have a small sump so that pumps can remove most of the water. Instead they have a large area where even 1/2" of residual water is a lot.

Some water is common though we all fight it.

There are a lot of weird things done on boats such as draining AC condensate into the bilge.

That would not turn me off on a boat though I would have the usual suspects, shafts and rudders checked. If water is not continually running in You can deal with it.

Some shaft packing designs are intentionally left dripping slowly while boat is running.
bayview is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 11:08 AM   #9
Senior Member
 
TONTOROSS's Avatar
 
City: Portland, OR
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Cool Water
Vessel Model: C&L Puget Trawler
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 252
Hey fellas, I was told my shaft seal was to have a drip. Ford Leman engines X 2. I think the mechanic told me about 1-2 every 4 sec or so when in use. Any thoughts? No rude thoughts! This could go south fast.
TONTOROSS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 11:08 AM   #10
Guru
 
hmason's Avatar
 
City: Westport, CT
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Magic
Vessel Model: Grand Banks 46 Europa
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 1,901
"1) There should be enough ventilation that unless new water is coming into the bilge the residual water will evaporate. If it isn't evaporating, that humidity is not good for equipment."

I agree that your thinking would be correct in a perfect world.

Where does the dripping from the stuffing box(s) go? On Magic they go into the bilge. Let's assume your bilge pump cycles, and when it shuts down, 8 oz. of water flows back into the bilge sump. Now, take a teacup (8 oz.) of water and set it in your bilge. How long does it take to evaporate?
__________________
Howard
Magic, 1996 Grand Banks Europa
Westport, CT and Stuart, FL
hmason is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 11:22 AM   #11
Guru
 
ranger42c's Avatar
 
City: Maryland
Country: USA
Vessel Model: 42' Sportfish
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 3,159
Quote:
Originally Posted by ALL IN View Post

This brings me to my question. How much water should be in the bilge? I noticed one boat with a bout 4-5 inches. It was well over the intake propeller. To me, 4-5 inches seems like a lot. I guess it depends on where the float is and when it is set to come on?

It depends. (The usual boat answer.)

In a boat with dripless shaft seals, as little as zero. In the same boat with rod holders plumbed directly to the bilge, or a shower sump that often overflows, or one with A/C condensate plumbed to the bilge, a fair amount.

We have three separate bilges, two dry, one (with rod holders) wet.

If the bilge pump can really get all bilge water overboard, dry is often attainable for a while. Most bilge pumps can't actually do that, though, so a puddle isn't unusual, especially in boats without dripless shaft seals.

It depends

-Chris
__________________
South River, Chesapeake Bay
ranger42c is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 11:23 AM   #12
Guru
 
MYTraveler's Avatar
 
City: West Coast
Country: USA
Join Date: Apr 2014
Posts: 850
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmason View Post
"1) There should be enough ventilation that unless new water is coming into the bilge the residual water will evaporate. If it isn't evaporating, that humidity is not good for equipment."

I agree that your thinking would be correct in a perfect world.

Where does the dripping from the stuffing box(s) go? On Magic they go into the bilge. Let's assume your bilge pump cycles, and when it shuts down, 8 oz. of water flows back into the bilge sump. Now, take a teacup (8 oz.) of water and set it in your bilge. How long does it take to evaporate?
Granted, I am talking about a perfect -- but achievable -- world. PSS shaft seals should be 100% dripless.
MYTraveler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 11:28 AM   #13
Guru
 
City: gulf coast
Country: pinellas
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 2,199
Old style packing drips as your mechanic said. Gore packing does not drip. You can replace your old stuff easily enough.
bayview is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 12:24 PM   #14
Senior Member
 
Vashon_Trawler's Avatar
 
City: St. Petersburg, Florida
Country: USA
Vessel Name: M/V Sherpa
Vessel Model: 24' Vashon Diesel Cruiser
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 426
Only water I have in my bilge is from the stuffing box, which is at a drip rate just enough to cool the shaft. This water enters a well and can be pumped out or it mostly evaporates. I have a bone dry bilge so anything more suggests a problem such as a leaky raw water pump. I'm not convinced on the dripless shaft seals and have opted to retain a tried and true, traditional stuffing box.
__________________
“Go small, go simple, go now”
― Larry Pardey, Cruising in Seraffyn
Vashon_Trawler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 12:54 PM   #15
Guru
 
ben2go's Avatar
 
City: Upstate,SC
Country: USA
Vessel Name: The Caroliner
Vessel Model: Plans to build 30' Spira Sitka
Join Date: May 2012
Posts: 1,080
This brings about a question I have.When it rains,are bilges supposed to fill with water?A Bayliner cuddy, that I used to pilot,the bilges would fill with water when it rained,even when the cockpit was under full canvas.I never found where the water was coming from.Fortunately,that boat wasn't owned by me.The boat I am planning to build will have wet bilges in the rain as the rear deck will be to close to water line for scuppers.I may raise the deck when I build and add scuppers.
__________________
BEN'S BOAT BLOG

ben2go is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 01:10 PM   #16
Guru
 
psneeld's Avatar
 
City: Avalon, NJ
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Freedom
Vessel Model: Albin 40
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 15,892
There are more than a few ways water can get into a bilge... some more are through an anchor line hawse pipe or engineroom vents also.....

While it is possible to have a completely dry bilge...it's not the end of the world if it isn't.

Hopefully the water is no deeper than near the bottom of the lowest automatic bilge pump.

Waterlines higher than that suggest someone wasn't paying close enough attention to the boat.

But multiple sources , even condensation inside the hull can lead to water...while a bone dry bilge would be nice...few boats ever attain that status and run just fine for decades.
psneeld is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 01:43 PM   #17
Guru
 
City: gulf coast
Country: pinellas
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 2,199
Any cockpit boat has extra difficulty is keeping a dry bilge because the many hatch seals and drains are difficult to perfectly maintain.
bayview is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 02:07 PM   #18
Guru
 
AusCan's Avatar
 
City: Adelaide
Country: Australia
Vessel Name: Kokanee
Vessel Model: Cuddles 30 Pilot House Motor Sailer
Join Date: Jul 2012
Posts: 2,095
I've got a couple inches of water in the bilge. My cockpit hatch doesn't seal which lets a fair bit in.
My shaft seals occasionally have a slow drip witch I'm not overly concerned about. Better slightly loose than too tight.

Some people have check valves in their bilge pump hoses, but I don't, so there is alway backflow after the bilge pump shuts off.

It also depends on the shape of your bilge. If there is a low point with a small area for the bilge pump suction, you can minimize the volume left behind. If the area is large, there will be a greater volume of water that is difficult to suck up.
AusCan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 02:20 PM   #19
Guru
 
City: Hotel, CA
Country: Fried
Join Date: Sep 2011
Posts: 8,328
I always have about an inch in mine. Small drip in packing for shaft and rudder, nothing to get all worked up about IMO. I like the cycle counter idea and may work one in soon, seems prudent.
__________________
Craig

It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they've been fooled - Mark Twain
CPseudonym is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-03-2014, 02:27 PM   #20
TF Site Team
 
Pack Mule's Avatar
 
City: Paris,TN
Country: USA
Vessel Name: William
Vessel Model: Outer reef 32
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,501
I was think about putting a check valve after my pump to keep the little bit of water from draining back after the pump shuts off . Has anyone here ever done that ?
__________________

Pack Mule is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off





All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:25 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012