An Emergency Hand Pump Can Keep Your Boat Afloat

An hand bilge pump serves an emergency backup in case the motorized pump fails.

Emergency Bilge Pump
A spare hand pump can keep the bilge and lockers dry.Jim Hendricks / Sport Fishing

Boating safety dictates that you have a means of ­dewatering your vessel. That usually means a motorized bilge pump. However, if the bilge pump fails or drains the battery, you might need to manually dewater the boat. You can turn to an ordinary bucket to bail water, but buckets don’t fit well into small lockers or crowded bilge compartments. That’s where a manual pump comes in handy. The West Marine 36-inch manual bilge pump (about $55) has a narrow tube that fits into any compartment. It pumps 13 gallons per minute or 780 gallons per hour at a nominal pace. The lightweight pump and 72-inch hose are easy to stow; you can also use it to pump rainwater from boat covers and compartments.