DIY Maintenance – Bilge pump and live well check

Hobie Live Well Pump

Checking your live well and bilge pumps can take a matter of minutes (with clear access) and may save you a lot of heartache.  On a regular basis you may hear reports of anglers who have had a live well pump fail during a tournament and then have had to bucket water into it throughout the day to keep their fish alive.  One common reason for this is debris blocking or restricting water flow to the pump or possibly weed caught up in the impeller preventing operation.  Both of these issues quite often lead to failure of the pump.

Live well pump inspection

Checking the general bilge area and ensuring that no loose materials are floating around is important.  Items like plastic, fishing line or sea weed could easily block the inlet or be sucked up into the bilge pump and the same applies to a live well pump.  Sea weed is usually the biggest culprit but even shells which a fish may regurgitate can cause damage to the live well pump. To help prevent this, strainers are available and can be installed on the main water intake on the outside of the boat and also the recirculation intake on the inside of the live well.

Regardless of the brand or model, pumps are generally similar in design and can be separated to inspect the impeller.  Most pumps have some form of instructions labelling how to open them for inspection and quite often only requires pushing in a clip or two and rotating the pump clockwise or anticlockwise.  It is then a matter of inspecting the impeller and removing any foreign objects from the pump before reassembling.

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