Electric Bilge Pump

I have a new ocean kayak (Current Designs Solstice GT Titan Low Volume in Kevlar) on its way to me (replacing a recreational kayak that neither fits me nor allows me to handle anything but relatively calm waters). Having gone through a couple of incidents where I attempted to pump water out of my swamped kayak, I realize just how difficult this might be in rough conditions. I’m researching the various electric bilge pumps on the market. I found a nice one for $400 but I’m sure I could also build my own if I knew how. I need suggestions on which pump system to purchase and/or how to build and install my own. Please respond to hiouchibear@earthink.net. Thanks !!!

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while you’re doing that
start taking rolling lessons, by the time you’ve figured out a system and tested it a few times you’ll be on your way to rolling which will reduce your need for an electric pump by a LARGE factor.

I went through a similar eureka moment “there’s no way I’m going to pump out a kayak in the kind of breaking waves that dumped me to begin with if I can’t have my hands on a paddle”…

the goal is to be safe,different paths to getting there but skills with the paddle will always return more rewards than dealing with the FUBAR situation with devices.

Electric Bilge Pump Kit
This web site has a parts list for building the kit - electric bilge pumps for whitewater canoes. You might use a smaller Attwood pump for a kayak. You might consider using a V750 with a 3/4" ID Hose size instead of the V1250 with a 1 1/8" hose. The v1250 is needed for a canoe.



I have seen small bilge pumps at
K-Mart and Wall-Mart in the sporting goods department. They cost under $20 and I"m sure a small 12 volt battery wouldn"t cost to much. Just use a little imagination and you could be all set for under $75.

You can pick up a 12 volt dear feeder
battery, its rechargeable and has about 7 amps, enough to run the pump and navigation lights if you chose, for $20 to $25 bucks. Haven’t weighed one, but it feels about 5 lbs. Fry’s Electronics sells 12 volt batteries that are rechargeable and have varying amperage up to that of the deer feeder battery. In fact, Fry’s carries the same battery. I’ve seen them with amperage from 1.5 to 7 at Fry’s.

Have a look at this …

– Last Updated: Aug-06-07 11:31 AM EST –


another approach–foam
Another approach to the problem of pumping water after a capsize is to reduce the volume of water significantly. Rolling is the ideal way to do this, but a good backup is to install a removable foam bulkhead/footrest where you feet go. THis makes the volume of the cockpit much smaller, so much less water gets in. If you do a search on this board on foam and feet, you’ll get lots of threads from last summer. I did this, and it works like a charm. I pushed my footpegs back 3 inches, then cut a 3 inch piece of minicell foam to fit my boat (after making a cardboard template, shaped with a piece of wire around the boat to get the size right). With a piece of webbing around the middle, I can push it into place with my feet (it rests against the foot pegs, which have been pushed back, and fits snugly into the boat so no water can get behind it.) When someone else wants to borrow my boat, I pull it out (hence the webbing), and adjust the footpegs for them. You can also completely remove the footpegs and rails, and build foam up against the original bulkhead, but that makes it harder to lend or sell your boat.

This may sound complicated, but it only takes an hour to do, and paddling with your feet against foam is much much more comfortable, and much easier for rolling and reentries. You can create nifty little foot rests with foam at a 15 degree angle tilted back, and get pretty fancy with this. And you can store stuff between it and your original bulkhead when you’re going on a long trip. With this foam in place, I get so little water in my low volume boat that it’s stable enough to paddle fine. Pumping it out only takes a minute, not forever like before.

Electric Bilge Pumps
The Electric Bilge Pump website was moved from http://geocities.com/jtkcanoes/ to a new location:


Electric Bilge Pump Kits Website
Electric Bilge Pump Kits for Whitewater Canoes has moved it’s website to a reliable internet provider:


It will answer a lot of questions about Electric Bilge Pumps in your Whitewater Canoe.