LAHOWIND » Just you, me, + the dog.

Pump Up the Jam! Converting the Shower Sump Pump to the Backup Bilge Pump

Confused just by the blog post title?  Because I am.

Oh man. Talk about one confusing project!

Converting the sump pump is no fun on its own, but the previous boat owner made this project even that much more fun for us, having taken the liberty to modify the boat systems here and there, and thus making it quite difficult for us to tell what was what.

The previous owner told us there was one bilge pump in the bilge — an off-the-shelf rulematic submersible bilge pump — that he had rigged to a metal bar that dangled into the bilge.  He also had a float switch dangling in the bilge that was supposedly broken. The previous owner also told us there was a sump pump for the shower drain.

Apparently, we should have just taken his word for it on this one.

Instead, somehow Jereme decided, upon closer investigation with his buddy Chris, that what we actually had were TWO bilge pumps: 1.) the one mentioned above, and 2.) another one under the aft cabin bed that was not in use. There was an unused hose entering into the bilge right where this (#2.) pump was located, so we attached this seemingly “unused” pump to the bilge hose and voila! we had an automatic bilge pump on a float switch AND now a backup bilge pump on a manual switch if we ever needed it (i.e. if the other pump or float switch broke).

While Jereme was working on the water tank replacement project, he of course needed to empty the water tank.  He thought, “what better way to drain the water tank than to run the shower?”  Well….turns out, the shower sump began to fill with water and the pump did NOT turn on to pump out the shower sump!  WTH???

Jereme quickly realized what he had done. He had actually disconnected the shower sump pump to use it as the backup bilge pump.

Plans quickly changed, and he thought he would simply need to replace the shower sump pump.  Jereme bought a decent one on and brought it down to the boat to install it.  (Things can never be that easy, right?)

He then realized that we only have two hoses leaving the boat and they are both already in use!  So, we don’t have an outlet hose for the new shower pump.:(

Jereme got back together to consult with his buddy Chris, and together they decided that since the bilge is not dry, and probably never will be, the next best plan would be to simply remove the shower sump altogether, thereby removing a whole system that we would no longer need to maintain.  Seems logical.

It would also free up space for the water tank and give us an actual access point to the bilge (which we did not previously have).

So far, it’s turned out pretty well, but Jereme did keep the old shower sump if we realize what we did was stupid and need to replace it. 😉

*Side note…Turns out, the original float switch that the previous owner said was not working was only wired incorrectly.  Once Jereme rewired the switch, that bitch turned right on!

**Completely unnecessary side note…while Jereme and his buddy Chris were attempting to research and understand the real importance/necessity of having a shower sump, Chris did some Googling and found a boat owner that said “shower sumps are extremely necessary because feces will wash off in the shower and enter the shower sump instead of having feces going into the bilge.”  (I have no sources to reference on this little gem of information.)   I’m pretty sure Jereme and Chris had a good laugh at this since they told me… “well, we are going to have our feces in one sump or another, so why not just co-mingle our feces with our dirty bilge!”  😉

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[…] barbed fitting end into the hose (since he had recently done the same thing while working on the shower sump removal project).  The existing hoses on our boat are metal reinforced hoses that really just don’t […]

ElwoodSeptember 2, 2014 - 8:03 pm

As a second benifit to not having a shower sump, you can dump some dollar store cleaner into the shower drain and let it slosh around in the bilge with out lifting the floor boards.

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