Electric bilge pump in a Tempest?

I intend buying a kevlar Tempest 170 and was wondering about fitting an electric bilge pump.

Has anyone done this? where did you fit the pump etc?



well now…
I’ve seen it rigged behind the seat in a roto T but there ain’t much room in a composite. you could put the pump in the day compartment and plumb the parts into the cockpit, but that would be waaaayyyy too much work. front b/h would be too far to reach.

why do you think you need an electric pump? even a footpump is alot of work for the bang.

we are actually working on a wayyyy EZ footpump. mounts to the pegs.


Why do I want one?
I like to have backups for my backups. From what I’ve learned in practice sessions I think hand pumps aren’t practical in the conditions where I might actually need one.

I’ve fitted rule electric pumps to three seakayaks so far and did each one differently depending on the kayak.

From looking at the Tempest it looks like a good place for the pump is in front of the seat but this leaves the problem of where to run the hose to the outlet. I have tried them in front of the footrest before but it’s awkward and you get quite a bit of water left in the cockpit unless you can pump the last bit while facing down a wave.

What does everybody else do? Do they just rely on a hand pump if their roll fails or they get sucked out in surf?


my instructor had an electric pump
BUT it is just slipped into a slot inthe foam bulkhead…it is not permanent…little bit of vlecro at the bottom and some d batteries…

and then you can drop it into another baot if needed…nice…have nto bothered gettin one yet…maybe this year…


just me I guess…
BUT…I have used hand pumps in the gnarliest of conditions and as long as the ‘victim’ can hold on and stablize the platform they work fine.

under $30, portable, doesn’t require batteries or exit plumbing…

simple steve

Electric bilge pump
I have made a couple of pumps, using a small bilge pump, pen-lite batteries, battery holders (radio shack) and Pelican dry box. It is necessary to solder heavier wiring in the battery holders in order to get the necessary amps to run the pump effectively. Without the heavier wiring, the pump runs very slowly. The pump will run about 6 hours on the pen-light batterys.

I built it in behind the seat, with a through-hull fitting up top, behind the seat.

Another good solution to consider is the all-in-one self-contained bilge pump as sold by West Marine and other marine suppliers. It has the advantage of being portable enough to be handed off to the boat that needs it. Anytime I have had a real need for a pump was whenn someone else needed it to pump their boat out.

A Waterbuster
this is the one my instructor uses…

batteries last about a year for him…

he jsut sticks the end of the hose out the side of his skirt for the flow-pop the skirt mostly back on and voila…paddle and pump…

not bad on $$$too…


FS: Waterbuster Portable Bilge Pump
I have one that I am looking to part with.

Modified for sea kayaking: weighted base plate has been removed and I have added a tethered float. Low usage. $25 or best offer + shipping.


Down here in OZ
…12 volt, gel-cell, sealed batteries are sold at different amp capacities. I’m going for a 2.2 amp hour battery ( a small size - other size 3.3 , 7 amp)in day compartment. The rule pump sits behind seat and a waterproof switch placed rear of cockpit on back deck. Another guy had the pump sikaflexed behind the front bulkhead and battery in front hatch.

The RM T-165 I paddle is really capable in the surf, rolls well, good fit to stay inside the boat when getting knocked around but water gets in there. - new spray skirt is reliable. The electric pump will be my first and have not tested it though paddlers around here use them successfully.

Laurie Ford over in Tassmania sets up with the battery next to the pump behind the seat, my rig is based on Lauries. Heres his pump set up -



Boater’s World…

I might invest in one.

I’ve had two “submersible”…
waterbuster pumps and both failed. Neither of their output was sufficient for practical use. I’m with Simple Steve. And now for some controversey…

Learn to paddle your boat with water in it, find a place to pump that is safer than where you wrecked and raft up. Get another towist to keep you from drifting into hazards while getting right. If alone on a major crossing in rough conditions, question your own authority, not just the man’s. Be real good at spotting developments in conditions, even if you consider your analysis of prelaunch conditions is good.


Photos of an installation…

– Last Updated: May-16-07 9:04 AM EST –


Seems to take a while to open but it's worth the wait....

Maybe something like this???

intersecting lines of capabilities
I’ve been where you are in recognizing the severe limitations using a hand pump solo. It really makes no sense to rely on a pump without someone assisting in the conditions that dumped you if your self-rescue skills are just a paddle float self-rescue.

Thereafter I went through three or four modified Waterbusters, developed more skills and got tired of the maintenance issues and never updated to a better pump set-up as my skill set got better.

I’d suggest configuring something in a one piece dry box set-up that can be attached right in front of your seat, epoxied webbing can provide a solid anchor for bungies and later on for any other items if the pump isn’t used/available.

The Attwood WaterBuster can move significant amounts of water with a few simple modifications,like replacing the 3D cells with 3 2v gel cells or 5 Nicad/NiMh batteries. The pump seals failed or the housing broke from being dropped before the motor burned out from the higher voltage,ie. a years regular use. You cannot leave the Attwood submerged in water after running as it cools down because it’ll suck water into the warm case through the seals.

it is you
I remember the first time I dumped it solo before I learned to roll competantly and it was obvious the whole re-entry/pump routine was an accomodation to inadequate skills for the conditions. In a sense it helps to sell sea kayaks for the solo consumer/customer who really shouldn’t be paddling solo.

There’s a whole set of strengh,reflexes and bracing skills you’ve got that the beginner doesn’t have. I remember thinking “this is effing impossible to brace and pump at the same time” and the first time I turned on the pump with both hands on the paddle and the skirt securely on it was wonderful, I wasn’t going over. And then in a year various skills and judgements came together to reduce the need for it. Paddling with other people made the biggest difference to developing skills and reducing the perceived and actual need for the pump.

What really drove home the utility of a pump was for doubles. That’s proportionally even more water than a single and even harder to stabilize when full of water.

Thanks for everyone’s input
Behind the seat isn’t an option in a composite Tempest as there isn’t room. In front of the seat poses a problem with locating the outlet and hose and in front of the footrest is the worst of the locations I’ve experimented with before.

I’ve never had a forced swim in a seakayak and never needed to roll outside the surf zone. I do have a bombproof roll as I paddle whitewater up to grade 5 but since at times I paddle solo along coastlines without anywhere to land I like to have as many options for self rescue as possible. I normally carry a hand pump as a backup to the electric pump and carry a paddle float even though I find a re-enter and roll much quicker and easier. I’d like to keep setting off the EPIRB and flares as a last resort. I prefer to paddle solo than to paddle with another paddler if I don’t have complete confidence in their ability.

I guess I will have to work out what I want to do about pumps when I get the kayak.



Electric pumps
are great, but you’d want to carry a manual pump as a backup anyway, either hand or foot operated. There are too many things that can go wrong with an electric appliance under stress, way too many.

If you do go electric, you’d need to maintain a safety checklist to note when you bought/charged batteries, how often the rechargeables been cycled, periodic measurements of battery voltage, and the schedule for battery rotation. You’d also want to do the equivalent of aircraft preflight, inspecting wires, pump case and the actual operation of a pump before each paddle. You might also need to establish how long exactly batteries last under stress and relative to your paddling duration (one-day paddle vs. the multi-day trip), to see if there is a need to carry a backup battery.

That is, you’d need to do this if you plan to go solo and rely purely on the electric to save your life.

Having designed and implemented several safety-critical systems for regulated industries, I can say that having a dissimilar primary-backup arrangement has certain advantages over homogeneous primary-backup setup, especially when physical stresses are involved. Provided that the paddler has the ability to operate the manual backup, that is, in this particular case.

Anyway, this stuff can get scary. All in all, electrics can be a great convenience, but one has to have a plan for when they fail. A combo foot/electrical operated pumps for kayaks can be a good arrangement, but this leaves the pump itself as a single point of failure. >8-0