Best Bilge Pump

I tried searching the archives, but apparently put in the wrong “magic words” and didn’t find the info I wanted, so please bear with me. After working on rescues and having to pump out my kayak several times, I have decided I REALLY need a different bilge pump, something that moves water faster – preferably on both the up and down strokes – without tiring me out quickly. Which brands/models do you folks out there prefer?

rule 500 gpm electric
never heard of anyone going back after installing one. it weighs more and only works for your boat but I’d consider it a good option.

Thanks for the advice, but I should have specified I’m asking about the basic hand-powered pump – not electric or a foot pump. I don’t deny the advantages of those options – just not what I’m looking for at this time.

better rescue method?
One option would be to work up to a better rescue method. The cowboy scramble, which usually has you going to the front and draining it before then going to the back and getting in actually is quite good at emptying the boat.

Of course, a roll on a skirted boat would keep you from having to drain at all.

Or do your rescues one after the other (and don’t drain between them), and only drain after the last rescue. Or do the rescues close enough to shore that you can paddle over and then drain the boat. Or do one last t-rescue with a friend when you have a flooded boat, was the t-rescue drains the boat.

Large discharge, and discharges on the up and down.

I don’t leave home without mine

Jack L

Go traditional

Rule 500 gpm Auto - Installation

– Last Updated: Jun-08-10 6:01 PM EST –

I have always liked the idea of non-hand operated bilge pump.

Foot operated pumps will do the job, but you normally need a custom placed forward bulkhead to install the pump. A foot pump like the Henderson is not inexpensive and pumping out a full boat in conditions can be tiring, particularly while you are concentrating on paddling or bracing.

The ideal of an electric pump has always tickled my fancy. You just turn them on and go. If installed properly they can be highly reliable. Electric bilge pumps are extremely popular with Australian sea kayakers and some paddlers in the UK. I have yet to see someone using one here in the US, but I am sure they are out there. I have read several sets of on-line instructions showing a decent 'do-it-yourself-er' how to install an electric bilge pump, but the complexity is usually to imposing or baffling for yours truly. There may finally be a light at the end of the tunnel. An electric bilge pump installation option that involves reduced both complexity (no switch/minimal connections) and cost.
I recently came across this posting at Doug Wilcox's sea kayaking blog. I was so impressed with Doug's write-up I just might try it myself!
Also note the posted comments (6) near the end of Doug's article. They add to the discussion.

I checked on-line and all the need materials Doug uses are available in the US and for under $100! (if I did my math correctly).

.I have the Wilderness Systems brand hand pump …this thing will pump a good volume of water with each stroke. It also has the foam cover that helps it float.

Down side is I wish it had a longer discharge chute. I would prefer a discharge that you could attach a drain hose too to make sure everything goes out and over the side, and not dribble back into the boat.

Beckson Thirsty Mate
with or without hose that can attach. I have the cheap ones (harmony etc) without the hose but have seen this one and liked it.

Second Beckson Thirsty-Mate
We tried different bilge pumps for our livery and the Beckson Thirsty-Mate is our hands-down favorite. Moves a high volume of water, and just as important, is durable and dependable over time and use. Just make sure it has a foam collar; we lost a couple that got loose and sank when full of water.

NRS pumps were the worst - the insides would come loose and not pump and the handles kept breaking off.

Ready to order. Where’d you shop for the parts?

~~Chip (lazy)

Most, if not all the required parts can
be found at West Marine or

Thirsty Mate vs Kayak Pump
Looking in a catalog, I notice there is a 24 inch Beckson Thirsty-Mate Bilge Pump and an 18 inch Beckson Kayak Pump. The Thirsty Mate is rated for 10 gallons per minute vs 8 gpm for the Kayak Pump. The 18 inch looks easier to store. Has anyone who’ve used them give me pros and cons?

This last question
was never answered from years ago. Any takers???