They might not be as sexy as a new custom sport-fisher, but having good pumps and switches to move water either in or out of the boat is one vitally important aspect of any operation. Bilge pumps keep us afloat while livewell pumps keep the baits happy, and both are important yet often overlooked onboard systems.
Rise of the Smart Pump
Bilge pumps can be especially troublesome, since anyone pumping oil, fuel or other contaminants overboard in certain areas like marinas and marine sanctuaries can face significant fines for any violations. With that in mind, Blue Guard Innovations has introduced a solid-state bilge-pump switch with oil- and fuel-detection capability. With no moving parts or mechanical float switches, the BG-One will automatically turn off the bilge pump when oil or fuel is detected, preventing contaminated overboard discharge. The BG-One can be installed in any 12- or 24-volt power supply and will source up to 20 amps to any DC-powered bilge pump.
“Until now, there has not been a fail-safe system to monitor the accidental spillage in vessels,” says Ken Franke, a retired maritime law enforcement officer. “Blue Guard has developed a robust sensor with the BG-One that can protect oceans and waterways from oil and fuel spills, and can mitigate accidental spillage in vessels. This can prevent costly fines to boat owners and unnecessary contamination, plus expensive cleanup by local authorities.”
The new bilge-pump switch has three programmable modes of operation: Mode A (Marina) turns the pump on when only water is detected, and off when oil or fuel is detected. Mode B (Marine Sanctuary) turns the pump off and sounds an alarm, which requires power cycling of the device to reset the alarm. The Standard mode operates as normal, switching the bilge pump on and off for any liquid. It’s a smart solution to a troublesome and potentially expensive issue.
Water, Water Everywhere
Sea chests are designed to supply large quantities of water to feed a boat’s systems. When used in conjunction with livewell pumps, a sea chest can solve myriad problems. Best Marine provides engineered solutions for boat manufacturers and owners, with a nearly bulletproof design for different types of hull designs and applications.
“The biggest challenge we face these days are stepped hulls with disruptive water supplies at high speeds,” says Best Marine owner Michael Padgett. Hooker Electric recently commissioned Padgett to design a sea chest that would be able to provide the high volumes of water Hooker pumps are capable of handling, while eliminating cavitation, air lock and aeration, common issues with pumps on stepped-hull boats.
The Best Marine sea chests are designed to keep the pumps upright and provide plenty of clean water to 2,500- and 4,500-gallon-per-hour livewell pumps, as well as to feed saltwater washdowns and various other systems. They are constructed of 316L stainless steel, which is then passivized in a citric-acid bath and powder-coated to fully protect it from the elements. Another critical feature is the precision tapped seal ring and neoprene gasket, which allows the Best Marine sea chests to be sealed without the use of caulk or other sealant. This makes pump changes or other maintenance much easier. The chests can be designed for two to six Hooker Electric pumps, offering amazing versatility, redundancy and reliability for any boat’s livewell and washdown requirements.