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Boat Pumps

Find the right pump for your application.
Boat Pump Manufacturers

Common Pumps Found on a Boat

The amount, location and uses of pumps onboard a boat can be staggering at times. A modern 43' powerboat may have more than a dozen pumps. Go2marine carries a massive selection of boat pumps for most applications.

  • 3 - Bilge pumps in the engine room, mid-bilge, and forward
  • 3 - Engine cooling pumps for generator and main engines
  • 2 - Shower sump pumps
  • 1 - Wash down pump for the anchor
  • 1 - Fuel transfer pump for main tank(s) to generator tank
  • 1 - Live well pump
  • 1 (or 2) - Fresh water pumps
  • 2 - Macerator waste pumps
Low Prices on Pumps

Bilge Pumps

Due to the very nature of boats, the pump that concerns all boaters at nearly all levels and sizes of boats regardless of their usage is a bilge pump. The primary goal with this pump is to get the water out of the boat and put it back where it belongs!

Manual Bilge Pumps

For small skiffs, row boats and localized de-watering, the best choice is a portable, hand pump. The simple piston pump is used in small boats and works my pulling a rod with a lift plate up a cylinder to move out the water. For larger boats, a manual pump that operates with a handle powered diaphragm is in order. The real reason for manual bilge pumps are that after all else has failed on board; you will want one pump to work.
Manual Bilge Pump
Manual Bilge Pump

Electric Bilge Pumps

For general de-watering of the bilge from small amounts of water coming in, an electric bilge pump is in order. These pumps may be either diaphragm or impeller styles, moving up to 60 GPM, often allowing them to keep up with a fair leak. The biggest downside of an electric pump is that they will draw power until either the battery is underwater or is depleted, leaving you wanting a manual backup

electric Bilge Pump
Electric Bilge Pump

Engine Cooling Pumps

Engine cooling pumps are driven by a belt from the engine. The belt turns a pulley and the pulley turns an impeller inside the pump housing. Pulleys are either directly connected to the impeller shaft, which will result in the water pump working while the engine is turning or by an electro-magnetic clutch which turns the shaft of the pump when the clutch is energized while the engine is running.

Engine Cooling Pumps
Engine Cooling Pumps

Fluid Transfer Pumps

Because fuels have the ability to dissolve standard neoprene impellers and diaphragms, pumps constructed for moving fuel will feature Nitrile components. Like many other pumps meant specifically for marine use, fuel pumps are also constructed to be explosion proof. These circulation pumps typically should be mounted in a position where the inlet is continually flooded as they are not self priming.

Fuel Transfer Pump
Fluid Transfer Pump

Utility / Fluid Transfer Pumps

The bulk of the fluids that are moved around by utility pumps are some version of either fresh water, salt water, gray water or black water. Utility pumps can be used to supply fresh water to fixtures or as a raw water pump to use for deck wash down. Shower, sink, or sump water will also be moved by a sump pump to a gray water waste tank and then to a dock pump-out. Utility pumps that are used for pressurizing systems will often have a pressure valve built onto the pump that will shut it down when the system reaches pressure. When a fixture is opened on a pressure system, the pump will turn on to match the demand. For fresh or raw water, choose a fresh water pump that matches your output requirements.

Fresh Water Pump
Fresh Water Pump

Specialized Utility Pumps

There are several pumps that serve utility functions for specific applications aboard a vessel. Macerator pumps work hard to grind waste from a head, then pumping the slurry to a black water holding tank for later pumping out at the dock. Live well pumps strain raw water then run it to a stern mounted tank to keep bait fish alive. See also Waste Pumps

Washdown Pumps keep your anchor and general deck area debre Washdown pumps also can serve as a pump for livewells.

Macerator Pump
Macerator Pump

Impeller vs. Diaphragm Pumps

The two main construction styles of pumping are done either as an impeller or diaphragm pump.

Impeller Pumps:

These pumps are the most common style of pump built. The term impeller refers to the rotating component of the pump. The internal design is a chamber with an entry and exit. Inside the chamber is an impeller composed of a hub with blades or fins attached. The impeller is mounted to a shaft that spins to move the liquid through the chamber.


Impeller Pump

Impeller Pumps Pro's and Con's


  • Common well tested design
  • Simple and can be made to operate at high speeds
  • Does not clog easily
  • Can be run at high RPM
  • Huge flow rates
  • Economical to buy
  • Can be powered by virtually any motor


  • May need priming to function depending on blade construction
  • Flow rates decrease more rapidly than other pump types as the discharge head increases
  • Flexible Impeller pumps cannot be run dry or you will damage the impeller

Diaphragm Pumps:

These pumps are a positive displacement pump. The term diaphragm refers the membrane over the chamber. The internal design is a chamber with an entry and exit that have one way valves on them. As the membrane is flexed outward, the chambers volume is increased, drawing in the liquid through the valved entry. When the membrane is flexed in, the chamber volume is reduced and expels the water out of the valved exit. Diaphragm pumps may be manual or electric driven pumps.


Diaphram Pumps
Diaphragm Pump

Diaphragm Pumps Pro's and Con's


  • High efficiency, up to 97%
  • Very reliable (they are used as the mechanical heart pump)
  • Have good priming
  • Can handle highly viscous liquids
  • Can handle sludge with a large amount of solids
  • Can usually be run dry
  • Used to pump air as well
  • Easy to service
  • Power conservative


  • Valves can clog
When choosing a pump for use on your boat, you will need to ask yourself several questions.

1. What are you pumping?
This will effect what material the pump is manufactured with. You will need to choose a pump that contains material to handle the liquids that you are moving.

2. How much liquid are you trying to move?
This is a variable usually measured in GPM (gallons per minute).

Types of Pumps

Manual Pumps: For moving liquid, these pumps are diaphragm pumps. A typical use for a diaphragm pump is as a bilge pump. Because of their simplicity and functioning purely on human power, manual pumps are used to transfer water between ballast tanks, water between potable water tanks, to pump waste or to dewater a shower sump or bilge. Manual pumps are rated in gallons per minute at a set stroke rate. They may also be rated as volume per stroke.

Electric Pumps: There are both impeller and diaphragm pumps powered by a vessels electrical system. Keeping in mind the abilities of each style pump, there is nearly one for any application of moving nearly any liquid. Electric pumps are rated in gallons per minute, voltage used and amps drawn.

Engine Drive Pumps: These pumps are driven by the engine, but broken into two groups; direct drive pumps will be pumping the liquid anytime the engine is running or electro-magnetic clutch pumps will be turning when the engine is running, but will only pump when energized. These pumps are most often used to moving liquid through the engine for cooling. Engine drive pumps are impeller pumps that may have a neoprene, Nitrile or metal impeller. Engine pumps are rated in gallons per minute at a set RPM.

What can pumps move?

Pumps can move virtually any liquid, from one place to another. If you are pumping fuel, waste or any other liquid, be sure to choose that correct pump material. Most manual pumps come in neoprene, but can often be refitted with a Nitrile diaphragm and Nitrile valves.

Impellers Materials: Impeller pumps can come with a number of impeller materials, including neoprene, Nitrile and metal. Neoprene impellers are used for general purpose liquids pumping. The neoprene is affordable and last a long time, but, it will break down quickly with any exposure to petroleum products. Nitrile impellers are used in applications for pumping fuel. Pumps with Nitrile impellers are used for bilge pumps or transfer duties where water is heavily contaminated with oil or diesel. Steel impellers are used in many engine drive pumps. These pumps usually need to be primed – which means the pump itself must always have liquid in it.