Of the 575 boaters that took our on-line poll, 231, or 40% said that bilge pump activity was what concerned them most when away from their boat. Security at 36% was second followed by Battery Level at 16% and "Other" at 8%. Temperature and Shore Power were the predominant "Other" choices.
This gives us a lot of confidence at Siren Marine that our devices are focused on the right stuff! As a life long boating enthusiast, I worry about taking on water the most, followed only slightly by battery. And, actually, these two cannot really be separated. If batteries had unlimited power and a minor leak developed, the bilge pump would probably keep up. Batteries however, do not. And even multiple bilge pumps cannot keep up with many common water intrusion issues. "Keep in mind that a 1″ hole two feet bellow the water line lets in 27.8 Gallons Per Minute. That's 1668 gallons per hour! Even a 2500 GPH 'Rule type' bilge pump will barely pump 400 to 700 gallons per hour when hose restrictions and head pressure are taken into account."(quoted from link) Water intrusion is bad.
This brings up two other primary concerns from my perspective:
- If the bilge pump is keeping up with a minor leak, it may take much longer to detect that there is a problem.
- Time, is a factor that everything on your boat is directly related to, and should be our real #1 concern.
On the subject of not discovering a minor leak, the longer this goes undetected, the higher the probability that the minor problem could become a major problem. I think that we all agree upon and understand this point. A minor leak is a bad thing no matter how we look at it. Not knowing is also a bad thing. On the issue of time, this is one of the central theme songs at Siren Marine that is central to our passion and mission: to monitor and protect in a proactive manner, to help ensure boating experiences are spent on the water, not "in the bilge."
Because we all work hard to maintain and spend time on our boats, mitigating the chances of problems increases the chances of spending more time boating and less time fixing.
To wrap up, I will leave you with two great links to threads for more specific information on water intrusion, thru-hull fittings and preventative maintenance – "Why Boats Sink at the Dock" and this thought: While water intrusion, security, theft, freezing temperatures and dragging anchor are all serious concerns, the battery really is king of all systems. Weather you have a 16' Boston Whaler, a 25' center console or a cruising sailboat or trawler, without a good battery, you can't crank the motor, your bilge pump will not work, your GPS will not show you the way, nor will the radar alert you to the barge in the fog on a collision course on Block Island Sound. You will not have music playing in the cockpit nor will your beer in the fridge be cold. Battery, is still king of systems.
Capt. Daniel A. Harper
monitor | track | control
Great links for more information on thru-hull issues and maintenance: