Electric Bilge Pumps

Am thinking of installing an electric bilge pump and wondered if anyone had any experience with the Whale Orca, Supersub, or Supersub automatic pumps? The Supersub looks great because it would fit lengthwise in the space behind the backband of a Tiderace XPlore M.

Not sure about the automatic (ditto for the Rule)–seems like it would just drain the battery unnecessarily?

Also, most folks install a 500 gph pump–why not 1K gph? Seems like it would be good to get the water out more quickly in difficult conditions?

Lastly, anyone used the Atwood Waterbuster? Just store in day hatch or behind backhand, click it on, run the hose up the skirt tunnel, and paddle out of trouble?



Why mess with a 500 GPH pump?
1000s or 1200s are readily available, weigh as much and don’t cost more than a couple dollars more than a 500. But maybe I’m missing something.

Heres mine
Dont know if you saw what I posted a little while back


If you have the room sure you could use a 1000 gph pump but also consider it will need larger hose, larger battery and heavyer duty switch. Unless you go for auto pump which from my understanding turn on every 2 minutes to see if there is any water to pump. that would drive me crazy. After all its not like you will use the pump often. Plus you would need a disconnect switch so when your storing or transporting the pump doesnt turn on every 2 minutes.

Iam a fan of Lithium Polymer batteries as I have alot of experience with them with Radio controlled planes useing them.Lightest strongest battery you can buy.

knarly dog has info here http://gnarlydognews.blogspot.com/2009/04/shop-electric-bilge-pump-in-kayak.html

and here is another pump install here http://www.northwestpaddling.net/index.php/blog/diy-repairs/24-installing-an-electric-bilge-pump?showall=1&limitstart=

and a youtube video here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqUHd_PTwI8&NR=1&feature=endscreen

and another here http://www.qldseakayak.canoe.org.au/site/canoeing/qldseakayak/downloads/BILGE%20PUMP%20INSTALLATION.pdf

I did see your post and also the other postings/videos–all very helpful. In fact, it was your post and the responses plus some playing around that lead to the questions.

I’ve used electric pump kits before: they all failed. Have also had a couple of kayaks with Henderson foot pumps–helpful but way too slow and tiring. Back to reenter and roll plus paddling a boat full of water out of conditions.

With a lot of gratitude for the work it has taken to get to this point, am ready to take on an electric install again as it looks like the technology has matured quite a bit. I wondered about the bigger diameter tube and how that might effect water coming into the kayak through the thru port w/o installing a check valve. My experience with the latter and with loops hasn’t be very positive.

Much thanks,



I use the water buster like you mentioned except for a few modifications. In one boat I have a foam bulkhead forward and can push the on switch with my bare foot or foot in a wet suit bootie. I cannot feel the switch with a shoe so that does not work. The hose is extra long and lead back arounf my seat where I can snake it out the skirt as needed. In addition I can just pull hard on my extended length hose and it will come out of the foam so I can put it in your boat if needed. This is very handy as most folks are tired after a failed roll and a hard swim.

one other modification is to remove the heavy metal plate off of the bottom of the water buster, you do not need a lot of help holding it down in the boat and you want it to be light for passing around.

One set of batteries every year or two is all I use, but I mostly surf in sit on tops.

Hope this helps,


details on "failed"
quote: “used electric pump kits before: they all failed.”

Can you please elaborate on which part of the pump failed, if possible?

Was is the pump itself, the wiring (often the case) or the switch (also common with toggle switches).

My initial set ups failed because of lousy wiring where I just used electrical tape to seal the splicing in the wires. Once I started to use quality wires (not cheap speaker wires) and made sure that any joints in the wire were ultra positively sealed with sealant and heat shrink I had no problem since; 5 years and counting. I would be interested to hear what went wrong.

Thanks Gnarlydog for weighing in and for all the great stuff on your website. This was in the early-mid 2000s, the box was stuck behind the backband along with the pump, the switch was foot pressure triggered, and there was a lot of corrosion to be had in the various connections. Thru hull was off the back deck or up front near the bulkhead. If I recall correctly, the latter was a disaster due to air locks. I’d bought a couple of commercial kits; forget the maker(s); none were satisfactory. All lessons you learned a long time ago.

no problems so far with mine
Just to ad I have a loop in my hose and so far I have had no problems. I used mine quite a bit last month in a pool at roll and rescue practice. Had my spray skirt get sucked down around me had to let air in which was rather weird feeling. I had the pump I think once start to cavitate just shut it off then back on and it pumped away. So the loop in the hose doesn’t seem so far to be a problem.Also used it practicing in Lake Erie a week ago no problems pumping but I did get a cool rainbow off the pump spray when the sun got low.