Water water everywhere and not a bit to pump

Last year my lovely wife and I began a day of fishing the normal way, remove the trailer boat strap, transom  tie-downs and the transom saver. After running a few miles we idled up to our first fishing spot.

After about twenty minutes of fishing my fishing buddy asked, “Is there supposed to be that much water in there (pointing to the drain grates in the floor of the bass rig)?” I responded, “That’s just water that is normally in the hull from rain, hitting waves and such.”

After another fifteen minutes or so I got another question from my back-seater, “I really don’t think there should be that much water in there.” I did another visual check to satisfy my mate and discovered the water level had risen to just below the floor drains. Something was not right. I asked, “Did we forget to check the drain plug before we backed down the ramp?” She said the plug was checked in the pre-launch inspection.

“No big deal,” I said. “I’ll just turn on the bilge pump and get the water out.” I quickly flipped the bilge pump switch on and waited for the water to begin coming out of the pump port on the side of the boat. We waited, and waited, and waited,  no water was coming out, not a dribble, not a drop. Meanwhile, the water level kept rising.

Test the bilge pump in your boat about once a week. Make sure the pump will work when you need it. SFN photo

Test the bilge pump in your boat about once a week. Make sure the pump will work when you need it. SFN photo

Things were getting out of control now so a decision was made to run back to the ramp as fast as possible. The engine was cranked and we started to pull out of the hole. As the bow lifted, water came boiling out of the floor drains and created about a four inch puddle around our feet. My fishing buddy was quiet afraid we were going to sink before making it back to the ramp and onto the trailer. I was getting a little nervous myself.

Luckily, the waterlogged boat made it to the ramp and onto the trailer. We only pulled the trailer up the ramp far enough for access to the drain plug. Most of the water drained out in around ten minutes or so.

Off to our boat mechanic we went…still trailing water coming out of the hull.

Close examination revealed two things: One, where the water was getting into the boat; and two, why would the bilge pump not pump the water out. First, the source of the water was coming from a livewell drain hose that had broken loose and was bringing in water in. Second, the bilge pump could not pump the water out because a dirt dobber had built a mud nest in the output hose that completely blocked the hose preventing any water from going overboard.

I tell this long tale to impress you with the importance of checking the operation of your bilge pump and insure the output hose is not obstructed. Pour water into the bilge area in the boat and check for operation: One, the pump itself works and two, the output hose is not blocked. Run a coat hanger wire down the bilge port should you discover a dirt dobber mud dam in the hose. A weekly check on the operation of your bilge and hose might save you a big problem on the water.

Dirt dobbers can build a nest pretty fast!


One Comment

  1. Don Gowen says:

    Excellent commentary RonnieMac. There are those that have and those that are going to.