Is Bilge Pump Frequency Normal?

By: Lenny Rudow

Question I recently purchased an older model 19-foot Regal I/O. I’m new to boating, and I noticed that the bilge pump comes on every 15 minutes or so. Is this normal?

AnswerThis is probably nothing to worry about, but keep a close eye on it. Virtually all modern powerboats take some amount of water into the bilge via the drain plug, deck plates and other access points, and the pump should be expected to run now and again. Every 15 minutes is a bit too frequent for my liking, but it doesn’t sound like you’ve timed it exactly, so keep an eye on your watch the next time you’re on the boat. Even more important is how long the pump runs. If it’s pumping for a second or two, no worries. If it’s pumping for 30 seconds or a matter of minutes, however, I’d suspect a substantial leak that needs to be isolated and fixed.


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