The manual bilge pump that I use for my kayak isn’t very useful aboard my other boats. Without a hose it can’t get the water from the centerline some 3′ to the gunwale and overboard. My other pump, the one with a hose attached, went missing one day and I came up with a way to add a nice long hose to my kayak pump using an old inner tube for a 26″x 2.125″ bicycle tire. I cut away the section of tube with the inflation valve and had a 6’ hose that was just the right diameter to stretch over the spout of the pump. It worked like a charm. Used as a discharge hose, it doesn’t need to be reinforced the way an intake hose does. It works instead just like a fire hose, expanding only when the water fills it.
I made a few refinements to keep the hose where it belongs when water is surging through it. To keep the hose from slipping off the spout if a kink stops the flow of water, I cut partway through the inner tube about ½” from the end. This creates a rubber band, still attached to the hose, that slips over the pump handle and around the top of the pump just above the spout. To keep the cut from tearing further, I cut a small circle at the end. To keep the other end of the hose from flying around I cut 6″ from the end and cut away most of the middle, leaving a strap between two loops. The loops fit over the hose and when snugged together give the strap enough slack to fit over a tholepin or oarlock and keep the hose aimed overboard.
I jury-rigged this hose just to get some rainwater out of a boat I have parked on a trailer at home, but I’ve come to prefer it to the hose-equipped pump that went missing. The inner tube had plenty of length to reach well over the side from any point in the boat and being flat when not in use, wraps snugly around the pump, making it much easier to stow. I happened to have an old inner tube on hand—I keep all of my old inner tubes to use for laminating spars—but I’d spend $5 for a new one and be well ahead of the cost of the reinforced hose.
Christopher Cunningham is the editor of Small Boats Monthly
You can share your tricks of the trade with other Small Boats Monthly readers by sending us an email.