For Comparison’s Sake: Hand-Held Bilge Pumps

Three ways to bail your boat by hand pump.

We goofed in our January 2012 issue and swapped the photos of the Beckson Thirstymate and Attwood Pumps. The descriptions match the images in this version.

It’s been said that the world’s best bilge pump is a scared guy with a bucket.

But a hand-held pump may be better. It’s true that when water collects in the bilge, manpower might be the best — or only — option. Here are three hand-held pumps we tested and rated, should you ever be the scared guy.


Rule Model 165
Our Take: It requires eight strokes to deliver a gallon of bilge water. This 24-inch, ABS, plastic self-priming pump uses 25 inches of standard 1⅛-inch ID flexible bilge hose that slides over the outlet flange, secured with a clamp. The molded T-handle means hours of pumping comfort.

Sinking: The outlet hose has a smaller diameter, so it takes more strokes than the other pumps.



Attwood Model 11590
Our Take: A competent six-stroke-per-gallon pump. The 24-inch body is constructed from ABS plastic, and the 1¼-inch ID flexible ribbed hose delivers plenty of water after just a couple of priming strokes. The 23½-inch-long hose slips securely into the pump outlet flange.

Sinking: The molded pump handle has raw edges that could quickly make prolonged pumping a bit of a challenge.



Beckson Model 136PF
Our Take: At 36 inches long, it has a longer stroke and, therefore, a greater capacity — four strokes per gallon. The flexible 1¼-inch ID hose is 35 inches long and threads into the outlet flange. The handle’s edges are rolled for a comfortable grip.

Sinking: Attaching the hose requires an unusual counterclockwise motion that takes getting used to. Requires more muscle.