How to Choose a Bilge Pump for Your Boat

Boats need a bilge pump to keep water from accumulating in the bottom of the hull, but how do you choose the best one for your boat?

At Bakes Marine, our in-house boating experts have created a collection of the best bilge pumps for any size recreational boat.

Bilge Pump Basics

A bilge pump is designed to discharge the water at the bottom of your boat's hull (the bilge) that can collect, becoming smelly and dirty if you don't do anything about it. Hence, the bilge pump. Choose a manual bilge pump for boats or an automatic bilge pump for boats. While an automatic bilge pump is often recommended for larger boats (over 20 ft. in size), automatic bilge pumps are smart buys for smaller boats, too.


They're rated by GPH, or gallons per hour, which is the maximum amount of water that can be pumped out of your boat in an hour by the pump.

The hoses attached can be corrugated or smooth; we prefer smooth-wall pumps, which can measurably increase the rate of water flow per hour from your vessel.

Yes, we've all seen movies of sinking boats that lead to folks using buckets to rid the crafts of water. That's in the movies. Bilge pumps are what you need for typical water releases.

Why Two Bilge Pump Can be Better than One

Bilge pumps are inexpensive additions to your boating equipment needs. That's why we recommend that you buy two to have a backup bilge pump ready when needed.

Depending on the size and brand, you can install your backup bilge pump directly above your primary bilge pump. Or, install an extra bilge pump in another boat compartment that can collect unwanted water.

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Bilge Pump Brands

Find top brands (at our always low prices) of bilge pumps for your boat at Bakes Online. We're a family-owned company that's been in business since 1989. Trust us; we know bilge pumps.

For larger recreational boats, consider the powerful Attwood Sahara 750 GPH bilge pump. This is one of our compact automatic-switch bilge pumps that's a must for vessels 20 ft. or longer with on-board sleeping quarters.

Our Sahara bilge pump kit includes the pump, wire seals, strainer and switch, plus 36-in. lengths of 16-gauage caulked and tinned copper wire.

We like that this 12-volt 750 GPH (gallons per hour) bilge pump is easy to install on any size boat. The Sahara S750 is the bilge pump used on Malibu boats.

For smaller boats, we offer the inexpensive Johnson Pump Ultima Combo 500 GPH submersible automatic bilge pump. The model 750 Johnson automatic pump has a rugged housing, and straight and 90-degree smooth elbow discharge ports.  An automatic water-sensing switch is included with this budget-priced bilge pump for smaller boats.
Also consider our 800 800 GPH manual-operations submersible bilge pump by Rule. This ignition-protected manual bilge pump has a low-amp motor.

Bilge Pumps for Malibu Boats

Our bilge pumps for Malibu boats include the Malibu Axis Center Automatic 650 GPH bilge pump. This automatic Malibu bilge pump is designed for use only on the center bilge by the drain plug on Malibu and Access boats made in 2014 or in later years.
The pump, which is capable of pumping a maximum 650 gallons per hour from your bilge, is engineered to meet Malibu specs.

Please keep in mind that the GPH rating is not precise; it defines the maximum amount of water that can be pumped per hour, which can vary depending on what kind of water is being pumped from your craft. We also carry Malibu brand bilge pump automatic switch covers.

Keeping Your Boat Bilge Clean

Keep your boat's bilge clean with Z Care bilge cleaner to avoid creating an oil slick when you empty unwanted liquids from your boat. Environmentally friendly Z Care brand bilge cleaner from Bakes Marine is what's called a bio-remedial cleaner. It contains naturally occurring microbes that, in essence, eat oil. Add a little each month to continually clean your bilge water of grimy, foul-smelling oil and fuel. It's an inexpensive way to do your part to reduce water pollution.

We also carry biodegradable Star Brite brand Super Orange Citrus bilge cleaner engineered to emulsify grease, oil, fuel and transmission fluid found in boat bilges.

Why Bakes Marine?

At Bakes Marine, we're a leader in boats, boating equipment and accessories. At Bakes, our service department specializes in Malibu, Indmar, Axis, Supra, Moomba and PCM brands. Every year, our friendly, knowledgeable staff goes back to school to learn about the continually evolving technology involved in modern boating equipment and accessories. That's why we're an internationally recognized leader in solving those complex boating service challenges.

We're a leader in Washington state, where we have our headquarters. Bakes Online serves customers throughout the Western Hemisphere, as well as in Europe, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.

We offer superior customer service before and after every sale. If you have questions, we're here to offer the best available answers. Call (425) 392-7599 in the United States. Or, shoot an email to [email protected].