Rapid Runner Bilge Pump

I ordered an electric bilge pump from Rapidrunnerbilge.com using my credit card. I’ve been billed for it but can’t get a response from them about my order (placed over a month ago). The web site is still up and running. It’s a rather expensive purchase so I’m concerned. I wanted to install an electric bilge pump in my sea kayak and this looked like a good one. Anyway, has someone had experience with this company? Please email any info to hiouchibearx@earthlink.com (leave off the “x” in the email address…put there to prevent spam responses). Thanks !!! Barry

Shortly after submitting this post, I received a reply from the company, telling me that my order had been received and verifying that my credit card was billed. They said the lithium battery for the system had been on back order and was in the process of being shipped to them…and that they’d keep me updated. I’ll do a review on the bilge pump system when I get it installed. I’ve advised the company that when they take a big bucks order, they should respond to questions subsequent questions from customers in a timely manner. It shouldn’t take a month to reply to an inquiry regarding an order. I told them that I placed a post on this site but would update it with the info on the email I just received from them. Barry

Glad you got a reply
The only review here was positive regarding product and service.

I sent you an email with more ways to try to contact, but sounds like you won’t need it. Delays in contact can be a fact of life with small companies (I think this is a one man outfit, and it’s not a full time thing).


– Last Updated: Oct-18-07 12:01 PM EST –

The review was mine.

I've had the Li pump in my Outer Island for 2+ years. The company is well intentioned and the product is nicely packaged. However, their customer service isn't very good, again though well intentioned, and there are two major problems with the RR system.

First, the thru hull is open to the pump, so water comes into the cockpit through the system itself. Putting a loop in the tubing doesn't help in surf or when rolling and the pump isn't strong enough to overcome the resistance associated with a passive backflow valve. This is a big enough problem that they were supposedly building an electric valve that would open when the pump was activated and be closed otherwise. That was a year ago and haven't heard anything despite a couple of emails. Still, water isn't a problem when the pump works as it is spectacularly good at pumping water from inside to outside. Sometimes I'll drop a rail, fill the cockpit, and spray my friends just for fun.

In the second and greater problem, the battery case is not really dry so you have to be scrupulous about letting it dry out, cleaning the contacts (not easy) and fussing with it at the end of each day in order to keep it running. That's hard anytime and sometimes impossibele to do when you are on a long camping trip, when it is raining etc. The corrosion problem is worse in salt as compared to fresh water environments. My RR system is currently dead because of this corrosion problem. I expect that I'll need to replace the battery pack, but as you say they always seem to be backordered.

I probably ought to downgrade my opinion--great idea, flawed implementation. At this point, I'd rather use a Henderson foot pump to get out what comes in when surfing and rolling and use a hand pump for draining the boat after a wet exit. Don't like depending on something that's fickle. If you stay with the RR system, my suggestion is that you order an extra battery pack from the outset so you can swap them in and out for cleaning and for safety reasons.



RR review

– Last Updated: Oct-18-07 6:24 PM EST –

Thank for you additional insights on the Rapid Runner bilge system. Ever since reading your review I have considered getting their Li-Ion set-up for one of my boats. The obvious inhibitor had been cost, but I had seriously considered pulling the trigger and ordering one.

I thought that the RR system came with some sort of check-valve, guess not.

Your additional comments helped finalize my decision and I will keep $400+ in my pocket ;-)

"Fickle" just does cut in for any piece of safe gear.


– Last Updated: Oct-18-07 9:04 PM EST –

I have resolved the backflow problem by inserting a check valve in the outlet hose right before the through-hull fitting. http://tinyurl.com/38jejz

I don't use the RR battery packs and have been experimenting with other designs for about 1.5 years now. The pump works good but won't prime unless there is about 3/4 of an inch of water. If you have some electrical knowledge a lot of money can be saved by using common boat components (pumps, hoses, fittings, etc.) The LI battery is much of the expense but if you are not excessively weight conscious, NiMh work as well anyway.

biting my tongue on this one
I’ve got three kayaks set up with Rapid Runner, and like others I’ve been waiting for many months for my battery and charger to be replaced. I’ve written countless e-mails, called him on the phone but still nothing.

At first I loved the system, well still do and know that batteries fail and/or wear out…and I’ve waited patiently for a very long time. I’m at the point of voting no confidence in Rapid Runner Bilge Systems, by this time he could have subbed out my charger and battery with a much cheaper model that would solve the mean time problem. Keep me posted on this and in a few more weeks we should collectively contact the BBB in his area and cross post on any forum that might seccumb to his business tactics.

When I look at the system that came in the Mirage 580 I know there is another option with el cheapo lead acid batteries that is much simpler yet the Mirage was built/layed up with the intention of an electric bilge pump.


hi rusty
my RR pump is set behind seat as is the thru hull just off to the side. hose is < 1 foot in length. not sure why, but the pump can’t manage to overcome the resistance of the check valve and i’ve tried (and paid for) three different valves.

build one for under $100
I put together the bilge pump system in my canoe for under $100. I didn’t care about weight, so used a cheap lead acid battery (3 lbs and $15 versus 1 lb and $125). Have since learned that, at least in fresh water, lead acid batteries don’t even need to be in a waterproof box, though I do have mine in one.