Bilge Pumps: Not all created equal!!!

I just recently bought a new bilge pump–a Beckson Thirsty-Mate. This is the gray and red one that you have probably seen before. It replaced my cheap yellow and blue generic pump that is probably the most common pump out there.

I was surprised to find out that it works WAY better than my old pump! I never would have thought that there could be that big of a difference among hand pumps, but apparently there is. I did some self rescue practice the other day and it pumps out water MUCH faster. My old pump was about worthless. This one works great.

I can even use it to pump out that little bit of water that gets in your cockpit after doing repeated rolls, where I would have never even attempted this with my old pump as it never would have helped.


I agree, they are not always equal!
when I was out a few weeks ago, my brother and dad had this big fat red one’s and I had a think yellow one with a red float around it. mine would shoot water a good 30 feet away and theirs only a few feet. now, how many feet the water is thrown doesn’t always necessitate a good pump, it’s the volume that’s being pumped, but I can tell you, that one was easy to pump, little resistance and it was quick, where it was tougher and more plodding to use the one’s my dad and brother had.

My question is
Do you really want a pump that delivers a high-pressure stream 20 feet or more?

I tried a Aquabound pump (all yellow) and it really shot water a great distance. Used it for water battles, and wore it out.

Now I have a Wilderness Systems pump, with a larger diameter and opening. It moves a lot of water at a lower pressure. My hypothesis is that high volume @ low pressure is more efficient.


Any double chamber pumps out there?

– Last Updated: Aug-28-06 10:11 AM EST –

You know, where you're pumping water out on both the push and pull stroke? Or even better, any single chambers with doube valves, entries and exits (same proudction, half the size)? Just curious as it's about time for me to get a new one too.


No double-acting
pumps that I know of. But I really do like the Wildy pump. One nice feature is that it has a foam sleeve covering the whole body, which means that it won’t hang up under bungies if you store it on your deck.


Beckson for me as well

If you look at some websites you will find that they will rate the pumps by how many gallons per minute they can supposedly pump. The Beckson has the highest rating I can find. I think it is 10 gallons per minute vs. 8 gallons per minute for most pumps (I might not have the numbers exact, but you get the picture)

lots of water movement is good, but…
…I’d rather have the 8gal/min that throws water a good 30ft vs. the one that can gob it only a few. then I can sink my partner from a distance :wink:

Beckson vs. Seattle Sports
A friend and I were practicing wet exits and she couldn’t figure out how I was getting my cockpit emptied out faster than she was. I was using my Beckson and she had a Seattle Sports pump. I let her try the Beckson and she also commented on how much the smoother and it was in operation and with less effort required. Guess there is a difference and probably worth a few dollars more.

more on Beckson.
is it durable? does it work more smoothly (piston action) after continous exposure to salt water? is it more expensive than other brands?

Becksons have a good rep
Beckson pumps have an industrial heritage, can be disassembled and cleaned. All in all, a very serviceable pump.


which of the Becksons is the best?
I did a quick google and saw no website at first, is there one that shows all the pumps they sell and their volume movement etc?

The one I got is the one that NRS sells. I think it is great. If I recall it might be a few dollars more than the cheap ones, but whatever slight difference in price is well worth it.

It works smooth and seems like it will be reliable as well.


is the basic one most folks use - 18 in long. But Beckson does not market the float, so you are best off to order through one of the ususla boater’s sources.


Beckson website
Here is the link to the Beckson website:; the kayak pump page is:


How ong does it last?

– Last Updated: Aug-30-06 1:25 PM EST –

I have my original Beckson and that's 16 years. Works perfectly.
Mostly Salt and occassional fresh water use. Lets face it - it mostly sits in the boat.