5 Best Watermakers for Sailboats

5 Best Watermakers for Sailboats | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

With the right Watermaker, the ocean becomes an almost immeasurable supply of fresh and clean drinking water to keep you hydrated during your offshore sailing adventures.

Many sailors do spend a lot of their time and money on various parts of the sailboat including the sails, engine, electronics, and generators especially when preparing for long-distance voyages.

While there's absolutely nothing wrong with this, they often overlook one crucial part of general human survival: having an ample supply of fresh drinking water.

Whether you have freshwater drinking tanks on your sailboat or planning to cruise in areas where you can easily access clean drinking water, the hassle involved in having to come to the dock to fill the water tanks can be quite overwhelming.

This is exactly why you need to find the best watermakers for sailboats.

Like many other nautical technologies, watermakers have significantly advanced in the last few decades to become very efficient and more reliable. They're no longer a luxury on your sailboat but a necessity. Better still, watermakers have become relatively affordable and are meant to keep you hydrated as you explore areas that do not have clean and fresh drinking water.

In this article, we'll take a look at how watermaker systems work, highlight its benefits, and highlight the best sailboat watermakers on the market right now. At the end of this read, you should be able to choose the best watermaker for your sailboat.

Table of contents

Benefits of Having a Watermaker on Your Sailboat

The freedom and security that come with having full water tanks on your sailboat are of immense importance, especially if you're cruising in an area where fresh drinking water is hard to come by and quite expensive when you do. As such, having a watermaker aboard your sailboat is no longer a luxury like it used to be in the past. With a steady supply of fresh and clean water, your life on the sailboat will be a lot better. This is because you'll have enough clean water to drink, cook, wash, and shower, which is beneficial if you want to enjoy your sailing adventures.

Honestly speaking, many sailors do not actually need a watermaker. Well, if you're planning to sail just near the shores, then there's a chance that you can easily access fresh and clean water by the dock. But this can be limiting if you've been dreaming of going off the grid and sailing to some exotic and unknown places in the world.

With that in mind, a watermaker makes a lot of sense to most sailors. You won't have to worry about having to carry aboard gallons of fresh water for cooking and drinking during your voyage. You won't have to treat freshwater as a precious commodity that must last until you can refill at the next port. With a watermaker, you can simply go ocean crossing without worrying about running out of water.

A watermaker allows you to have a steady supply of fresh and clean water to keep everybody well-hydrated and healthy. You can clean the water anytime you feel like and all you have to do is replace the filter once in a while and you'll be good to go. In essence, a watermaker is probably one of the most important equipment to have aboard your sailboat, so installing it is of great importance if you're a serious sailor.

The Basics of Modern Marine Watermakers

Modern marine watermakers essentially follow the principle of reverse-osmosis to produce pure, drinking water from seawater. During this process and through very high pressure, seawater is forced through a semipermeable membrane that only allows freshwater molecules to pass through it but not salt, bacteria, or any other organic material. The newly made pure, drinking water is then piped to the sailboat's water tanks while the leftover (brine) is discharged overboard.

Even though marine watermakers may differ in the type of pump that's employed and how it is driven, this is one of the most important features in every watermaker. In most cases, water can be electrically pumped or powered directly off the boat's engine. If you have an AC generator or alternator on your boat, it would make much sense to use the AC output to drive the watermaker directly. You can also choose the DC-powered models if you rely on renewable energy from solar or wind. Alternatively, you can still go for AC-powered watermakers but you'll have to buy an inverter.

All in all, DC-powered watermakers are more efficient since they integrate a power-saving energy recovery system (ERS). You must, however, keep in mind that your energy consumption levels might be quite high if you're sailing in colder and saltier areas. This is because the water purification process might be a bit slower in such areas. As such, you should consider investing in a more high-powered watermaker system if you will be sailing in colder and saltier areas than if you're planning to sail more in warm and less salty areas.

As far as an engine-driven watermaker is concerned, you should mount the high-pressure pump on the engine so that it can be belt-driven using an automatic clutch. An engine-driven watermaker should be your first option if you want large quantities of fresh drinking water. This is more productive than AC or DC-powered watermakers. Even with a relatively small engine, this setup has an automatic regulator that constantly pumps the water. With that in mind, engine-driven watermakers are ideal if you want to reduce your energy consumption. To put it into perspective, an engine-driven watermaker can lower energy consumption by an enormous 80%, especially when compared with conventional AC or DC-powered watermaker systems.

How to Choose the Best Watermaker for Your Sailboat

There are many factors to consider when looking for the best watermakers for your sailboat. Here are the most important things to consider.

Your Freshwater Needs

One of the most important things to consider before spending your money on a watermaker is your freshwater needs. What quantity would be enough to keep you going on your sailing adventure? While the quantity might differ from one sailor to the other or from one boat to the other, you should consider the number of gallons that a particular watermaker can produce per day. This will help you in choosing the ideal watermaker; a model that will ensure that you never run out of water. Do not underestimate your water needs, especially if you're planning to sail with your children or if you're planning to stay on the boat for an extended period of time.

Do you have enough space on your vessel to accommodate the type of watermaker you're looking to buy? While most watermakers are designed to fit in the smallest of space, you should consider the actual size of the watermaker and find out whether you have enough space on your vessel to fix it.

Watermakers can run on electricity, renewable energy such as wind and solar (if you have them on your vessel), or both. When looking for the perfect watermaker, you should consider how to power it and whether or not the watermaker has low-energy consumption, which is definitely a great feature. Again, there are also engine-driven watermakers, so it's important to know exactly what you're going for.


Watermakers have a reputation for being difficult to maintain. Fortunately, the equipment and components have improved in the last few years so you should go for a model that's easy to maintain. You should use the watermaker in water bodies that look good, You should avoid using the watermaker in dirty harbors as you may have to change the filters every so often or even damage your watermaker altogether.

Best Watermakers for Sailboats

Let's take a look at the best watermakers available on the market right now.

The Ultra Whisper

Engineered by limited electrical options that can run on either DC or AC, THE Ultra Whisper by Sea Recovery is one of the best watermakers currently available on the market. In addition to being very quiet, this watermaker features an automatic operation that requires very minimal operator adjustment.

This watermaker is ideal for small powerboats and sailboats since it can serve as an efficient water supply. This model boasts about a 75% reduction in power consumption, especially when compared to other models.

  • ‍ Smooth and quiet water production
  • Can produce up to 2,280 liters per day
  • Ideal for small boats
  • It is energy efficient
  • ‍ It might not be perfect for large boats

Echotec Watermaker

If you want a watermaker model that can produce 60 liters per hour flawlessly and with no maintenance apart from changing the filters, look no further than the Echotec Watermaker. This model is designed for ultra-reliable performance and easy customer installation.

This watermaker is made from high-quality components that can withstand the continuous harsh marine environment, making it one of the most durable watermakers on the market. This is essentially a series of modular watermakers ranging from 12-volt to 24-volt DC-powered models. They bring forth energy efficiency, a computerized energy recovery system, and ultimate reliability to ensure that you never run out of fresh drinking water while out there on the sea.

  • ‍ Energy efficient
  • Cost-effective
  • ‍ Comes with a very low speed
  • Not ideal for large boats

Spectra Katadyn PowerSurvivor

As a compact and energy-efficient watermaker, the Spectra Katadyn PowerSurvivor is arguably the most affordable watermaker currently available on the market. We are talking about a model that only requires 4 amps to desalinate water for your sailboat. It can produce 1.5 gallons of fresh drinking water per hour, which is an excellent return for a watermaker of its size.

It is also one of the most portable watermakers around. You can choose to either install it permanently or temporarily in case you want to take it somewhere else. This portability is also essential if you're looking for a space-saving model that can fit in the smallest of compartments. Its simple but rugged design is essential in ensuring that it can perform at its best even in harsh marine conditions. In terms of its power capabilities, this is the only model on the market that will convert to a hand-operated system or manual power if there's a power shortage.

  • ‍ Portable and lightweight
  • Rugged design to withstand harsh marine environments
  • Efficient and reliable
  • Can revert to manual power if there's a power shortage
  • Perfect for off-grid sailing
  • ‍ Gasoline or diesel can easily damage the semi-permeable membrane

Village Marine - Little Wonder Series

Whether you're looking for a watermaker for your small sailboat or looking for a watermaker that can efficiently serve those huge yachts, the Village Marine Little Wonder Series provides everything. This model is meant for experienced sailors who are looking for various capacity options. This watermaker weighs just about 69 pounds but can produce nearly 180 gallons of fresh drinking water each day.

Designed with a low RPM high-pressure pump, this model remains one of the most efficient and economical watermakers on the market. That's not all; this watermaker is designed with corrosion-resistant features and is one of the most serviceable watermakers in the game. It is reliable, quiet, and portable; all factors that make a watermaker great.

  • ‍ Easy to operate
  • Corrosion-resistant
  • Easy to maintain
  • Quiet and versatile
  • ‍ It doesn't have automatic adjustment controls

Ventura 150 Watermaker

This is one of the most versatile watermakers on the market. It can use both electricity and renewable energy. This model is engineered to be lightweight and energy-efficient and its compact and modular design makes it a great option if you're looking for a watermaker that's easy to use and install in confined spaces.

The Ventura 150 watermaker is highly efficient as it can produce over 6 gallons of water an hour, which makes it quite perfect for small vessels. This sailboat watermaker features a controller that allows you to operate and monitor the device remotely. It also has the auto store button that will automatically flash the system after every five days.

This watermaker is quiet and surprisingly compact despite its ability to produce about 150 gallons of water per day. It also gives you the option of going for the automated manual or manual model.

  • ‍ Very versatile
  • Can use both electricity and renewable energy power
  • It is smooth and quiet
  • It is compact and lightweight
  • ‍ The manual model has analog controls

To this end, it's easy to see that having an ideal watermaker aboard your vessel is one of the first crucial steps towards being self-sufficient and sustainable. With a watermaker, you'll be able to access fresh drinking water at all times when sailing even in far-flung places. Most of these models are well-constructed and incorporate some of the best technologies that make them efficient, reliable, and easy to install, use, and maintain.

So when it comes to choosing the best watermaker for your sailboat, it may all come down to what is ideal for you in terms of energy consumption, efficiency, the quantity of water produced, among many other things. With an ideal watermaker, you can remain off the grid for as long as you want without ever worrying about running out of water and this is of great importance in enjoying your sailing adventures.

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I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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Finding the Best Marine Freshwater Pumps for Your Boat, RV or Camper

Written by J. Harvey / Fact checked by S. Numbers

Water is essential when boating. From showers to sinks, you need water for a more comfortable life aboard. To ensure that there is always a quick and consistent supply, the best marine freshwater pump is a must-have.

best marine freshwater pump

However, choosing a fresh water pump is overwhelming. There are many variables to take into account, from capacity to noise. You must think about its ease of installation and use as well as its price. If you are looking for a freshwater pump for a boat, continue reading to find some of the top products and their impressive features.

sailboat water pump

  • Easy installation
  • Generates minimal noise
  • Automatically starts and stops

sailboat water pump

  • Easy to access
  • Impressive technical specs
  • Ideal even for compact spaces

sailboat water pump

  • Good choice for small boats
  • Comes with a rubber mount
  • Has protection against ignition

Table of Contents

1. SEAFLO 123ABC Self-Priming Pump

2. ieik water pump, 3. seaflo sea-2834 freshwater pump, 4. uniclife uniclife-ul204-1 water pump, 5. sicce sic104 syncra silent 1.0 multipurpose pump, 6. shurflo 4.15e+81 aqua king ii 4.0 freshwater pump, 7. amarine made 21 series fresh water pump, 8. jerepet aquarium water pump, 9. ommo freshwater pump, 10. amarine made freshwater pump, 11. camptemp freshwater pump, 12. jabsco q401j-115s-3a marine freshwater pump, factor to consider when choosing marine freshwater pump, who makes the best marine freshwater pump, how does a freshwater pump work on a boat, how to prime a freshwater pump on a boat, how do you clean a freshwater tank on a boat, best marine freshwater pump reviews.

This on-demand and general-duty pump is a great option for small boats , supplying water up to two fixtures. It is ideal for moderate-pressure and high-flow environments. It has a self-priming feature up to six vertical feet and delivers a flow rate of up to 3 GPM.

One of its most notable features is the three-chamber diaphragm, which is powered by a reliable motor. This means that the flow of the water remains consistent even when the pressure isn’t high.

I love this marine freshwater pump because of its easy installation. Even for first-timers, the assembly is a breeze. It comes with detailed instructions from the manufacturer. Wiring is simple and it requires only minor adjustments when fitting the pipe.

This isn’t one of those pumps that run continuously. To protect the motor, the unit stops working once it is too hot. It has thermal overload protection to prevent damage from running even when the motor is exhausted. Once it has cooled down, the pump automatically restarts.

Noise is a common problem in many freshwater pumps. But, this pump generates minimal sound even when it is operating. It has a decibel rating similar to an air-conditioning unit , so it isn’t annoying at all. The base has semi-rigid rubber feet, which is effective for noise reduction.

  • The three-chamber diaphragm ensures consistent water flow
  • Easy installation even for novices
  • Automatically starts and stops to protect the motor
  • Generates minimal noise when operating
  • Does not accept a conventional garden hose adapter

If you are looking for an affordable 12-volt marine water pump, this is a great option. Despite being an economical model, it delivers decent performance. It has pretty impressive specs too. This pump has a pressure rating of 60 watts, a water flow of 1.35 GPM, and a pressure of 116 PSI.

The pump comes with a standard.5 FIP thread, which is compatible with a conventional garden hose. As such, I don’t have to buy complicated connectors, which makes it economical. The hose is easily accessible from hardware stores. It is already inclusive of clamps and brass fittings as well.

Another good thing about this pump is its construction. It has rubber on its base, which minimizes any vibrations. Also, this prevents excessive movements of the motor when it is running to prevent premature wear.

I love how compact and portable this pump is. It is a great option for small boats as it won’t consume a lot of space. Despite being a tiny pump, its functions are not compromised.

  • A great choice for budget-conscious buyers
  • Has impressive technical specs despite being affordable
  • Uses standard hoses that are easy to access
  • Prone to leaking
  • Makes a loud noise

This 12-volt freshwater pump is an incredible choice if you have a small boat. It has a pressure rating of 35 PSI and a flow rate of 1.2 GPM. The specs aren’t as high as its more powerful counterparts, but that should not be an issue as it is not designed to power water systems in large vessels.

Many pumps with inferior construction suffer from ignition problems and overheating. That isn’t the case with this model. It has built-in features for thermal protection, which protects the motor from getting too hot. The self-priming motor automatically turns on and off when I open or close the tap, preventing it from overworking.

When a water pump runs, vibration is a problem. Excessive movements can damage the motor. This model, however, has a rubber mount to inhibit damage that the trembles might cause. It is effective for noise reduction as well.

What I love about this pump is that it does not drain my battery quickly. Thanks to its low power draw, it is energy-efficient even when operating at its peak. Another good thing about this freshwater marine pump is its versatility. It is not just for boats and RVs. It delivers superior performance even for agricultural applications.

  • A good choice for small boats
  • Has protection against ignition and thermal overload
  • Comes with a rubber mount to minimize damage from vibrations
  • Professional-grade construction handles multiple applications
  • Weak injection molds and barb connections

sailboat water pump

Before anything else, this isn’t your conventional boat freshwater pump. Instead, this is a pump that is more commonly used in aquariums and aquaponics. It allows proper circulation to keep the water clean and fresh.

One of the most innovative features of this pump is its smart controller. I can choose from 99 speeds, depending on what my specific application requires. There is a ten-minute pause, which comes in handy for feeding. Plus, it has a memory function, so it automatically remembers the previous setting when it restarts.

With multiple protective features, I am confident that this pump is safe to use. For instance, it does not run when there is no water, eliminating strain on the motor. The pump also has protection from being stuck. Moreover, it is completely submersible. The low voltage is a good safety feature as well.

Its shaft construction is also remarkable. It is made of ceramic, so it isn’t easily prone to wear. This composition extends its service life compared to models with propellers that are made of weaker materials.

It is commendable because of its three-phase six-pole motor. It significantly reduces energy consumption, making the pump up to 65% more energy-efficient than many of its competitors.

  • Easy to operate using the smart controller
  • Has multiple layers of protection
  • Comes with a long-lasting ceramic shaft
  • Energy-efficient three-phase six-pole motor
  • Has a fragile plastic body

sailboat water pump

One thing that I love about this pump is its versatility. It is not just for aquariums and water fountains. It works for other submersible applications that need a high-performance pump. I can use it well in both fresh and saltwater settings.

With a convenient flow regulator, it is a breeze to customize the functions of the pump depending on what a specific application requires. It has a knob on the side for controlling the water, which is adjustable up to 215 GPH.

The manufacturer designed this pump with the needs of users in mind. So, maintenance is effortless as I can do so without using any tools. I can pull the pump apart by hand when it is time for cleaning and easily remove any dirt and debris that clog the system.

Aside from the pump, it is inclusive of stepped hoses. It speeds up the assembly the moment it is unboxed. Aside from that, this pump boasts amazing construction that guarantees longevity. One of the reasons for this is its long-lasting shaft, which is made of 316 stainless steel.

  • Versatile applications beyond aquariums
  • Includes stepped hoses for quick assembly
  • Adjustable flow rate for different applications
  • Easy maintenance without requiring any tool
  • Generates a lot of noise and vibration

sailboat water pump

Built for boats with multiple fixtures, this pump provides pressure just like you are at home. You can use two taps at the same time without worrying that the flow rate is affected. It has a power of 10 amps and a capacity of 4 GPM, so you can expect reliable performance.

With its built-in mechanical bypass, it adjusts the flow of the water depending on what the situation requires. I don’t need to use an accumulator tank. This feature also allows operating with minimal cycling even in low-flow conditions.

The durability of this pump is equally commendable. It has an electro-coated shell that protects the motor from external elements, such as dirt and dust. There are O-rings that seal the connections to avoid water and moisture penetration. Even the wires are fully sealed to minimize damage.

The ignition and thermal protection are crucial for extending the lifespan of this marine pump. These features prevent the motor from overheating, even if it is operating at its peak capacity.

Another compelling reason to choose this marine pump is the three-year warranty that accompanies it. It shows how confident the manufacturer is about the workmanship of their product.

  • Comes with a three-year warranty
  • Has a built-in mechanical bypass to regulate the flow of water
  • The durable shell protects the motor from damage
  • Prevents the motor from overheating
  • Not for people on a budget

sailboat water pump

This is a high-quality automatic water pump with a pressure rating of 35 PSI. Additionally, it has a low current draw, making it extremely efficient. Even if the pump is running for a long time, I am not concerned that it will drain my boat’s battery.

Aside from its efficiency, it is also a quiet marine freshwater pump. The motor won’t be a disturbance even as it runs. Beyond being quiet, it has minimal vibrations. I attribute this to the rubber mounts that absorb shock and prevent too much movement of the pump.

Like many of the top options for freshwater pumps for boats, it comes with a self-priming motor. This allows it to run dry without the risk of destroying its engine. There is no potential damage even when it is above the liquid that it is supposed to pump.

When pumps run continuously at their peak capacity, they overheat because there is too much strain on the motor, increasing the chances of breakdowns. Good thing, this product comes with a built-in thermal protector.

The quick installation of the pump is a plus. No experience is necessary to assemble the unit quickly as it includes a detailed manual for guidance.

  • Has a low current draw for energy efficiency
  • The motor runs quietly
  • Equipped with a self-priming motor that can run dry
  • Built-in thermal protection to avoid excessive heat
  • Generates low water output

sailboat water pump

For quick and easy maintenance of water in your aquarium, it is hard to go wrong with this pump. It is powerful, offering an output of up to 800 GPH. Despite this, it is economical and energy-efficient, running at only 28 watts. This is a great way to save battery!

Many aquarium pumps are too loud, which can be annoying. That won’t be the case with this model. It has a noise output of only 30 dBa, similar to whispering. It is almost impossible to notice that the motor is running, unlike others that can be too annoying.

The durable motor is a plus. One thing that makes this possible is the automatic shut-off feature. Once there are blockages or the pump is running dry, it will immediately stop. This will prevent putting too much strain on the motor before it breaks down. The magnetic motor has a steel shaft and favorable anti-corrosion properties.

It comes with an external controller, which makes it convenient to operate the pump and customize its functions. I can pick from six speeds, adjusting the flow rate from 30 to 100%. It also has flashing indicator lights for ease of monitoring. The display shows error messages for a quick diagnosis when there is a problem.

  • Has a high-performance but energy-efficient motor
  • Low noise output of less than 30 dBa
  • Automatic shut-off prolongs motor life
  • Comes with a convenient external controller
  • No strong brand recognition

sailboat water pump

From water taps in boats to motor homes, this is an outstanding pump. It has an exclusive design that ensures smooth and consistent flows of water in various environments. Besides, this pump has a power consumption of 36 watts, which makes it energy-efficient.

With a double-sealed body, it resists external elements that can speed up wear. It has good protection from dust and moisture to shield the motor and internal components. It inhibits corrosion and other potential damages resulting from high temperatures as well.

The automatic diaphragm cut-off is another good feature. It immediately stops pumping water after reaching the maximum pressure of 85 PSI, and once the pressure is back to normal, it restarts. This feature effectively prevents the motor from overheating.

This pump is also equipped with a self-priming feature. I can mount it above a water tank without problems, like the water back flowing into the pump.

I am also a fan of how this pump isn’t too noisy. It has a rating of 70 decibels, which is almost equivalent to a regular conversation. If this is still too loud for you, a good solution is to place a box on the diaphragm for noise reduction.

  • Has an exclusive design for smooth water flow
  • Low wattage for energy-efficient operation
  • Double-sealed body makes the pump durable
  • Automatically stops when pressure is more than what it can handle
  • Does not come with an on-off switch

sailboat water pump

Pumping water onboard does not have to be difficult. This pump ensures that you can easily access freshwater at different parts of the boat. It has a 12-volt motor that delivers a pressure of 55 PSI and a flow rate of 5 GPM. The best thing is that, since it has a low power draw, it is energy-efficient. It won’t quickly drain my battery as well.

The versatility of this pump is another impressive feature. The threaded connections will accept different fittings. Simply put, it is compatible with various connections on any outlet, so there’s no need to buy a special adapter.

With a bypass, this pump is quieter than many of its counterparts. It is responsible for the reduction of vibration, and as a result, eliminates excessive noise. It stays quiet even when operating at its peak. The bypass also lessens the wear on pipes.

When pumps run dry, they are easily susceptible to damage. If it operates without liquid, it is vulnerable to strain, which can damage the motor and shorten its lifespan. Good thing, this model has a self-priming feature to prevent damage.

  • Requires minimal power for efficient operations
  • Threaded fittings accommodate multiple connectors
  • Comes with a bypass that reduces noise and pipe wear
  • Has a self-priming feature
  • Durability can be an issue

sailboat water pump

This 12-volt marine freshwater pump with output of 1.6 GPM, can be used for water taps and outdoor showers. It runs continuously for 60 to 90 minutes. After reaching its peak, the motor automatically turns off and cools down for 15 to 20 minutes before starting again. This intermittent pumping is a great way to minimize overheating.

While it is an affordable pump, it does not compromise durability. It has sealed switches, which inhibit the penetration of moisture and water, thereby, protecting the internal components. To add, it has electro coating to prevent corrosion. This means that even with constant water exposure, the parts of the pump won’t easily rust.

A common problem in many inferior pumps is that they are noisy. Luckily, this model has a whisper-quiet operation. I can hardly notice that it is pumping water on my taps. More so, it does not vibrate a lot thanks to its soft rubber mount.

Even if it is your first time using a pump, you will not be overwhelmed. It is built with the needs of users in mind. There are no complications from the installation to operation. Even the maintenance won’t require too much on your end.

  • Automatically cools down after continuous operation
  • Sealed switches to prevent water penetration
  • No excessive noise and vibrations
  • Easy to install and use
  • Minimal reviews are available online

sailboat water pump

Regardless of small or large applications, this Jabsco freshwater pump has your needs covered. It has a water output of 4 GPM, making it capable even in demanding applications. With its flow rate, it simultaneously powers four outlets.

This pump will withstand many years of use without showing a decline in terms of functionality. The motor comes with a full enclosure to inhibit water intrusion. The shell is powder-coated for corrosion protection. Moreover, its co-molded diaphragm helps in minimizing wear.

Installing and maintaining this model won’t be a headache. It has quick-connect fittings that will simplify the assembly. Even for long-term storage, the winterization of the pump does not have to be complicated.

It has an integrated bypass valve, which is the one responsible for the smooth flow of water from the source to the taps. It reduces switch cycling while allowing a quiet and efficient operation.

With a sealed pressure switch, I can use the pump on demand. This means that I can turn it on or off manually when necessary.

  • Has a high output that serves four outlets at the same time
  • Heavy-duty construction for long serviceability
  • Quick-connect fittings allow easy installation and maintenance
  • The sealed switch allows on-demand operation
  • An integrated bypass allows smooth flow of water
  • One of the most expensive pumps on my list


A marine pump supplies a consistent flow of water on the boat, making sure that there is enough pressure to reach the tap from the source. It transports the water from a lower level to a higher level, such as a faucet, shower, or dishwasher. Without the pump, the water will not move out of the tank.

The system starts by pressurizing water in the head of a pump. As the shaft rotates, it pushes the water to the diaphragm. The diaphragm will press and release more water as the water comes out of the tap. When you turn off the faucet, the pump stops working, preventing water from moving continuously.

Types Of Marine Freshwater Pumps

Freshwater marine pumps are available in two main types – manual and electric. Manual pumps will require muscle work as you need to manually push it for water to travel to the hose. On the other hand, electric pumps are more convenient, quick, and user-friendly. It has a motor that powers the movement of the water.

Benefits And Drawbacks Of Marine Freshwater Pumps

The biggest benefit of using a freshwater marine pump is that it provides a steady supply of water. It ensures the right pressure depending on the flow rate of the tank. By using a pressurized system, it quickly moves the water from the source, dispensing it onto the tap. They are compact and energy-efficient.

It is hard to think of any drawback of a freshwater pump, except maybe for the cost. Nevertheless, many are affordable, including most of the models in this guide.

Buyer’s Guide

If you have no idea of what to pick, here are some of the most important considerations:

  • Voltage: The products above all have 12 volts, which are ideal for small to medium boats. For larger boats and heavy-duty applications, 24-volt pumps are more suitable.
  • Flow Rate: Expressed as GPM or gallon per minute, it describes the ideal output of the pump. At the very least, the pump should have 1 GPM. For more demanding users, 2 to 3 GPM is a good choice.
  • Pressure Rating: Another important technical spec, it indicates the resistance that the pump can hold. It will generally range from 20 to 60 PSI depending on the chosen model.
  • Noise: Noise is inevitable when a pump is working. Nonetheless, some are quieter than others. I recommend looking for a model with a low decibel rating.
  • Vibration: Aside from noise, excessive vibration is one more thing that makes pumps annoying. Some products have vibration dampeners, such as rubber on the base.
  • Run-Dry Feature: Pumps are susceptible to damage when they run dry. When there is no fluid, the components are more prone to wear. With a run-dry technology, the pump detects the absence of water and automatically shuts off.
  • Thermal Protection: This is another feature that prolongs the life of the motor. It shuts the motor the moment that it reaches its peak capacity. It cools down before it starts pumping water again.
  • Energy Efficiency: Even if a pump is small, some models are quite power-hungry. Especially if you will connect it to a battery, pick a pump that has a low power draw.
  • Ease of Use: From installing the pump to its operation, it must be user-friendly. The unit should come with an instruction manual and automatic features.

Care And Maintenance

Like other parts of a boat, freshwater pumps accumulate dirt over time, especially if it is not used. To maintain its peak performance, below are some of the best things to do:

  • Regularly check the pumps for damage, including dents and cracks. Fix the problem before it worsens.
  • Tighten all the connections. Use O-rings and other seals to secure the pump to a hose or pipe. This will prevent leaks.
  • Flush the water before using the pump after winterization or long-term storage. This will ensure a cleaner water supply to the outlets.
  • Use an in-line filter or strainer on the pump. It removes debris that can get in the water, especially if it is for drinking.


SEAFLO, Amarine Made, Jabsco, and West Marine fresh water pump are some of the top options. They are amongst the most reliable global brands with a diverse selection of water pumps that will surely suit your needs.

This will depend on the specific type of pump that you have. Most models have a switch that allows the pump to pressurize. As you open the faucet, the pump switches on, allowing water to run through the hose or pipe. It sustains the pressure to keep a steady flow rate. Once the spigot is closed, the pump turns off, inhibiting the movement of the water as well.

If the water pump has been off for a long time, it loses pressure and will not work accordingly. For the pump to work again, priming is a must. Here’s how you can do it:

  • Prepare the pump by turning off the power supply.
  • Inspect for any damage, which can compromise performance and safety.
  • Open the relief valve and check to see if there is any pressure.
  • Connect a hose to the pump.
  • Turn on the water supply until it reaches the tank.
  • Let the pump run for about a minute. If water does not flow smoothly, clean the pump and remove any blockage. Dirt and debris can accumulate over time, which will restrict water.

The first thing that you have to do is to remove the water in the tank. Add bleach, vinegar, or any other cleaner suitable for the material of the tank. Pour water and let the cleaning solution sit for at least 24 hours. Drain water from the tank and fill it with freshwater once it is clean.

Water is a necessity and not a luxury in boats. From dishwashing to showering to drinking, it is crucial to have access to water. The best marine freshwater pump will make such possible. It ensures the availability of water onboard while maintaining high pressure. The right pump transports freshwater from the source to the outlets in no time!

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Water System

Shurflo Wingnut Swivel Straight Fittings

Shurflo Wingnut Swivel Straight Fittings

Shurflo Wingnut Swivel Straight Fittings Optional Shurflo Wingnut Swivel Straight Fittings for use with Shurflow pumps. Nylon construction. Solid individually. Model # Type NPT (F) Size Barb Size 244-2926 Wingnut Swivel -...

Todd Waste/Water Holding Tank

Todd Waste/Water Holding Tank

Todd Waste/Water Holding Tank Todd waste/water holding tanks are tough and durable and will not emit waste odors or change the taste of fresh potable water. Constructed of one piece molded durable polyethylene, these tanks comply with FDA regulation CFR...

Shurflo Pressure Regulating Fresh Water Fill - Wall Mount

Shurflo Pressure Regulating Fresh Water Fill - Wall Mount

Shurflo Pressure Regulating Fresh Water Fill - Wall Mount Shurflo's exclusive diaphragm design prevents high-pressure damage often caused by city water systems. These high performance water entries limit water pressure and include a check valve.3/4" GSH...

Starbrite Aqua Water Treatment & Freshener - 16 oz.

Starbrite Aqua Water Treatment & Freshener

Starbrite Aqua Water Treatment & Freshener Use Starbrite's Aqua Water Treatment and Freshener to maintain perfect drinking water quality in boats and RVs. This biodegradable formula safely prevents water from taking on chlorine, sulfur, plastic, or...

Shurflo Wingnut Swivel Elbow Fittings

Shurflo Wingnut Swivel Elbow Fittings

Shurflo Wingnut Swivel Elbow Fittings Optional Shurflo Wingnut Swivel Elbow fittings for use with Shurflo pumps. Nylon construction. Model # Type NPT (F) Size Barb Size 244-3926 Wingnut Swivel - Nylon  1/2”...

Shurflo Aqua King II Standard Fresh Water Pump

Shurflo Aqua King II Standard Fresh Water Pump

Shurflo Aqua King II Standard Fresh Water Pump To ensure long life and top marine plumbing system performance in all plumbing, SHURFLO’s 4138 marine fresh water pump was designed with a unique over-molded single-piece diaphragm and internal...

Jabsco Pumpgard Water System Strainers

Jabsco Pumpgard Water System Strainers

Inlet strainer protects all pumps. Transparent housing allows instant inspection. Quick, in place cleaning of the 40 mesh stainless steel screen. 4 3/4"L x 2 3/4"W x 2-1/2"H. Available in 1/2" or 3/4" hose barbs

Starbrite Aqua Clean Fresh Water Treatment

Starbrite Aqua Clean Fresh Water Treatment

Starbrite Aqua Clean Fresh Water Treatment Aqua Clean is a water conditioner that cleans and deodorizes fresh water holding tanks and supply systems to keep water fresh. Excellent for after storage or winterization to flush out algae, bacteria, scale...

Jabsco 90° 3/4" Port Kit 30642

Jabsco 90° 3/4" Port Kit 30642

Jabsco 90° 3/4" Port Kit 30642 Contains 2 pieces

1/2" Threaded Port Fittings Kit

1/2" Threaded Port Fittings Kit

Snap in port fittings for 1/2" female threads..

Shurflo Aqua King II Premium 4.0 Fresh Water Pump

Shurflo Aqua King II Premium 4.0 Fresh Water Pump

Shurflo Aqua King II Premium 4.0 Fresh Water Pump The Shurflo Aqua King II Premium Fresh Water Pump is designed for boats with multi-fixtures, providing "just like home" pressure. A built-in mechanical bypass function enables this pump to operate at...

Sea Dog Washdown Water Outlet

Sea Dog Washdown Water Outlet

Sea Dog Washdown Water Outlet Allows for garden hose hookup to onboard water system for use as washdown system. Standard male hose connector. Requires separate ball or gate valve to regulate water flow. 1/2" FIPT x 3/4" MGHT.

Starbrite Aqua Water Shock

Starbrite Aqua Water Shock

Starbrite Aqua Water Shock Water Freshener Use Starbrite Aqua Water Shock to instantly remove bad tastes or smells from boat or RV potable water. Features: Instantly removes bad taste or smells from boat or RV’s potable water. Ideal for use...

Shurflo In-Line Check Valve - 1/2" Barb

Shurflo In-Line Check Valve - 1/2" Barb

Shurflo In-Line Check Valve - 1/2" Barb The Shurflo In-Line Check Valve allows water to flow in only one direction helping to safeguard against back surge pressure up to 100 PSI. Its small size allows for quick and easy installation...

Shurflo Aqua King II Supreme 5.0 Fresh Water Pump

Shurflo Aqua King II Supreme 5.0 Fresh Water Pump

Shurflo Aqua King II Supreme 5.0 Fresh Water Pump The Shurflo Aqua King II Supreme Fresh Water Pump is designed for boats with multi-fixtures, providing "just like home" pressure. A built-in mechanical bypass function enables this pump to operate at...

Jabsco Straight 1/2" Barb Port Kit 30654

Jabsco Straight 1/2" Barb Port Kit 30654

Fittings for 1/2" straight barb port. Pair

Jabsco Straight Barb 3/4" Port

Jabsco Straight Barb 3/4" Port

Jabsco Straight Barb 3/4" Port. Used for - 30600, 30700, 30710 Series Toilets.

Jabsco Impeller 6303

Jabsco Impeller 6303

Nitrile impeller. Measures 7-8" D, 5-16" shaft diameter with an overall diameter of 2". Single flat drive. 6 blades.

Johnson Aqua Jet Water Pressure Pump

Johnson Aqua Jet Water Pressure Pump

Johnson Aqua Jet Water Pressure Pump 12V Quiet and pulsation-free even at low speeds, the new Aqua Jet five-chamber diaphragm pump provides the perfect water pressure solution for both small and medium sized leisure and commercial boats. Features an...

Shurflo Aqua King II Junior Fresh Water Pump - 12V - 2.0 GPM

Shurflo Aqua King II Junior Fresh Water Pump - 12V - 2.0 GPM

Shurflo Aqua King II Junior Fresh Water Pump - 12V - 2.0 GPM The Shurflo Aqua King II Junior Fresh Water Pump delivers top performance in all plumbing systems. The Aqua King II Junior is constructed for medium flow demand, smooth flow, and no rapid...

Boat Water System

Boat water systems direct and regulate the flow of water in the mechanicals that carry or use water to function. These systems require routine maintenance to remain operational and hygenic. Wholesale Marine carries a wide selection to repair, replace, or to maintain your boat water systems, from leading manufacturers like Camco , FloJet , Jabsco , Johnson Pump , Moeller Marine, Rinsekit, Sea Dog, Shurflo, Starbrite, and Sudbury. Whether you need a replacement boat water pump, water treatment chemicals, a fresh water inlet, an impeller, or a pressure regulator, we have you covered. If you are not certain which parts you need, just ask us! Our knowledgeable staff will make sure you get the right part the first time!

Starbrite’s Aqua Clean Fresh Water Treatment is ideal for periodic tank flushes especially after winter storage. It is economical, too: one biodegradable gallon treats 100 gallons of water. Over time, water outlets can become corroded through constant use. A great replacement option is Sea Dog’s Washdown Water Outlet . If your boat water pump has seized, have a look at your impellers. If they’re worn or have stopped working, Wholesale Marine carries replacement Impellers from Jabsco that include the gasket.

Get the Right Boat Water Pump from Wholesale Marine

When it is time to replace your boat water pump , Shurflo’s Aqua King II Junior Fresh Wate r pump is a competitively-priced option for smaller craft. With our same day flat rate shipping, you could have your replacement pump by this weekend. Make winterizing your boat less of a chore with Camco’s Pump Converter Winterizing kit . This kit installs easily with an adjustable wrench and allows you to permanently bypass your fresh water supply line to pump antifreeze throughout your fresh water system.

Whatever your boating life requires, you can be sure that Wholesale Marine has it. Remember to ask about our Captain’s Club Rewards program for additional discounts every time you shop at Wholesale Marine. We stock everything boaters want and need to keep their craft well-maintained and ready to launch. Once you become a Wholesale Marine customer, our selection, experience, and renowned customer service will keep you coming back. If you’re looking for advice about boat water pumps, or anything else for your boat, give us a call at (877) 388-2628. We’re here from 9:00 AM until 6:00 PM, EST, Monday through Friday.

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Troubleshooting fresh water pump

  • Thread starter Allan Frey
  • Start date Jul 21, 2014
  • Forums for All Owners
  • Ask All Sailors

I have an odd problem with a two year old Shurflo fresh water pump, model 3901-0216. I saw a small reduction in water flow rate; about 2/3 typical rate. Then, after a few days of this, the pump did not turn off when the faucet was closed, as it normally did (no accumulator). I checked all the faucets and they were closed. I ran water out of all the faucets to purge any possible air. The strainer is clean. The water tank is almost full and the fill cap is closed. There were no pipe leaks apparent. I reset the breaker several times and also turned off the breaker for several hours. When the breaker was turned back on, I still had continuous running of the pump. That evening, the pump “fixed itself”; it just started operating normally. The water flow rate was still reduced. It worked normally most of the next day; then it started running continuously the rest of the day and all the next day whenever I turned the breaker on. I have not heard of this kind of problem with these pumps. I don’t know if the reduced flow rate and the intermittent continuous running are related. It is an interesting problem. Any suggestions? Thanks Allan  

Rich Stidger

Rich Stidger

These Shurflo pumps have a triple valve pumping chamber. I suspect that there is a problem with one of the pumping chambers/valves. Thus the 2/3 volume and if the valve was not closing, the pressure would not satisfy the pressure switch and it would run continuously. I would pull it apart and do a rebuild. The triple valve pumping body is available as a replacement part.  

Bill Roosa

dito Rick's assessment. The "mushroom" valves get mineral deposits on them over time and need a good cleaning. There are actually 4 valves in the body, 3 in and one big on in the center. i've used a toothbrush and white vinegar successfully with out taking the valves out of the housing. If you do have to take the valves out use the blunt end of a toothpick to push the "stem' of the mushroom through the retaining hole and BE CAREFUL not to rip the rubber  

Stu Jackson

Stu Jackson

The troubleshooting guide for these pumps is available, if you don't have the manual, download it from the internet.  

Thanks Rich, Bill and Stu for the guidance. Stu, I did get the troubleshooting guide and looked in the archives first, but they did not have this kind of problem listed. allan  


Shurflo Trash in outlet check valve of one pumping chamber.. as Bill and Rich suggest. Doesn't take much.. pinhead size piece of sand or calcium deposit.. the outer head and pressure switch housing come apart pretty easily without taking the drive side apart.. Best to take it out of the locker to work it. This shows the pressure switch off .. the three screws around the outside will allow access to the valves and diaphragms..  


Old Shurflo 1.jpg Take a look at one of the PDF documents, shows blow up pictures of the parts. Good luck. It may not be specifically in the troubleshooting guide, but Calder and the helpful advice from the skippers here sure covers it all.  


You should have a filter before the pump.  

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Install a Water Saver: A Galley Foot Pump

Im very lackadaisical at home about water consumption, as Im sure most people are. Ive gotten into the habit of letting the water run while brushing teeth, washing hands, and shaving. On those rare occasions that I wash a dish or two, the tap is running at continuous full speed for rinsing. The funny thing is, I don’t know why I do it. I guess its just a combination of laziness and the erroneous notion that fresh water is an unlimted commodity, that well never run out.

Each weekend at the boat I have to make an abrupt change from my land-based lifestyle, especially when away from the dock. Water becomes a precious commodity, in my case limited to a mere 65 gallons at each fill up. The bad habits from home have to cease immediately. The faucet is turned on and off more times during a boating weekend that during an entire month ashore. A shower that would normally consume 50 gallons, including an entire tank of hot water, is now limited to a one gallon wet-down and a one-gallon rinse-off. Even the icebox sump is scavenged for the precious fluid.

Modern boatbuilders, in their desire to make boats as appealing and comfortable as possible, have made it inherently difficult to conserve water. Plumbing fixtures work just the same as those at home. The demand pressure water pump is quick to maintain pressure and oh so quiet, almost as good as city water. Of course theres hot water aboard, even though we have to sacrifice a quart of cold down the drain before we feel the warmth. The obvious solution to better onboard water management is a manual pump, either hand or foot operated. I recognized this face a while ago, but felt that manual water pumps were for day sailors, not for bona fide cruising sailboats. Pressure water is something you graduate to after paying your dues messing with plastic water jugs and on-deck sun showers. I for one certainly didnt want to regress-even though it wouls be nice for once to have cruising agendas planned around something other than the size of the water tank.

I recently chartered a 32′ boat for a one-week vacation cruise. The boat was equipped with pressure hot and cold water pumps, as well as foot pumps, in both head and galley. This was the perfect time to test their efficiency and the feasibility of installation on my boat.

The foot pumps worked well, delivering plenty of water (they pump on both the up and down strokes), and were easy to operate (especially with my size 13 foot). The best feature was being able to use the sink without using hands. No need to turn a faucet on or off; simply start or stop pumping with a foot. Pumping lightly would deliver a trickle, and more aggressive pumping would result in a major flood.

After having passed the charter test, I decided to install one foot pump in the galley of my boat – seemingly straightforward installation. Hand operated pumps were written off since counter space is at a premium on my boat. Out came the mail order catalogs. The Whale Gusher (the price $49.95, typically available for about $37 through catalogs) was the one I recognized. Cheaper imported pumps that looked the same were available, as well as the essentially similar Wilcox-Crittenden model 6500 at about the same list price, but I decided to go with the pump I was familiar with.

I also selected a Whale Telescopic Swivel Spout (model FT1102, list price $7.65). The spout tales up little space on the countertop, swivels from side to side, and telescopes up and down. The tip can be twisted to turn the spout itself on and off, but make sure that an overzealous visitor doesn’t try to get water from a turned -off spout. The ensuing explosion would no doubt damage something.

After ordering the pump from Defender Industries in New Rochelle, NY, I decided I needed a pump in the head as well as the galley. I envisioned the galley installation to be a snap, but the head unit would undoubtedly challenge my abilities.

The pumps arrived without instructions or installation templates. Presumably the manufacturer feels theyre simple to figure out.

I started with the galley pump. It was to go inside the sink cabinet directly beneath the cabinet door. As with any installation, I first thoroughly eyeballed the area to make sure I would have no problems before starting to cut and drill. I temporarily hooked up a water hose to the pump and positioned it as best I could to make sure there was adequate clearance.

The postion of the ” hose barbs on the pump can be adjusted and rotated to accommodate hose coming in at virtually any angle.

I next pulled the runner foot panel off the pump shaft arm and made a small template of the size slot needed in the cabinet base for the pumping arm. The slot was cut with a saber saw, and had to be expanded several times before the clearances were suitable.

The slot size is critical: too short and you wont get the full benefit of the stroke; too long and youll have a sloppy-looking installation.

With the slot cut, the nest step is to secure the pump to the cabin sole. The pump body has mounting tabs molded into the plastic casting, so mounting can be done two ways: either directly to a horizontal surface (in this case the cabin sole inside the locker), or to a vertical surface such as a bulkhead. Either way, the pump must be thoroughly secured with large self tapping screws to through bolts, since the pump spring is quite stiff and pumping legs are usually quite strong.

With the pump in place, I next snaked water hose from the water tank back to the pump. Since each of my water tanks has only one outlet, a plastic T feeds one foot pump. The hose is then connected to the suction side of the pump, and another length of hose is attached to the discharge side. The pump is not marked, so determine which is the inlet and which is the outlet before final installation of the hose.

I selected a spot for the swivel spout on the countertop, making sure clearances were ok. You should position the spout close enough to the sink so that water doesn’t spill onto the counter once youre pumping. Be sure to check the area under the counter for clearance before drilling the 1 hole required for mounting the spout.

The pout was mounted and the discharge line from the pump attached to it using a hose clamp. All other connections should be clamped and the hose supported with nylon clips where necessary.

I then moved on to tackle the head pump. I initially planned to install the head pump in the fiberglass liner that forms both the sole for the head and the base for the head vanity. After a thorough investigation with a flashlight however, I had second thoughts. The pump was too large and the area too inaccessible. At this point I began to think about returning the second pump and forgetting about the head altogether, until I began poking around inside the vanity cabinet. This cabinet is a fiberglass molding that begins where the hull inner liner ends. Although mounting in this area would put the pump pedal higher than I preferred, I felt that reaching the pedal would not be a major inconvenience. Working through the tiny vanity door and underneath a non-removable shelf, I would be working totally by feel, since I couldnt get my head in to see the area. In addition, the pump would need to be mounted vertically with all the holes for the through bolts drilled blindly.

The biggest problem was the pump shaft arm. There wasnt enough clearance to simply cut a slot and pass the arm through. Due to the close quarters inside, the arm and pump would have to be manhandled into position once a more-or-less arbitrary slot was cut. I judged as best as I could, held my breath, and the cuts. After several attempts to insert the pump and several minor hand lacerations on the sharp fiberglass edges inside, the pump wouldnt fit.

After a minor temper tantrum, it seemed that the only alternative was to trim the pump body. Indeed, the pump can be trimmed of several inches of superfluous material with a hacksaw. Just be extremely careful or youll end up with a leaking pump and the bill for replacement.

Trimming the pump was just what was needed to get adequate clearance. For good measure-and because it still took a major effort to trial-fit the pump-I shortened the pump arm by about . This made subsequent fitting a veritable snap, and the rubber pedal still fit just as easily as before.

Next, I had to secure the pump to the vertical wall of the vanity surface. Since this is made of relatively thin fiberglass, I decided to use stainless steel machine screws with nuts and lock washers instead of wall tappers. The three mounting holes were drilled at their approximate places using a crude template. After test fitting the pump and attached, once again blindly, with copious quantities of cursing and hand gouging. The spout was mounted just like the one in the galley, again making sure the position was right for the sink top and clearance beneath the counter.

With the installation complete, the systems were pumped up and tested for leaks. Each performed as expected and all connections were tight and dry. I would recommend that the tips of each of these spouts be turned to the off position after each use, since the pressure water pump has a tendency to cycle when theyre left on.

The twin foot pumps stretch a full tank of water a long way, and yet they still allow you to use the existing pressure water system when conservation is not required. Thinking of putting in some additional water tankage? Go out and pick up a couple of these foot pumps and see for yourself. Youll save plenty of both cash and water.


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How to Rebuild an Outboard Motor Water Pump

If you’ve already read 15 Outboard Motor Maintenance Blind Spots You Can’t Afford to Miss and discovered that your outboard motor’s water pump (#7 in the list) is one of your maintenance blind spots, then this post is for you. It’s also for you if you didn’t read that article and you don’t have a clue how to maintain a water pump.

In that article, I encouraged you to flush your cooling system often to prevent it from clogging and corrosion and to reduce wear in your water pump. I showed you the inside of a water pump and explained how the impeller can wear or break. And I promised to show you how to replace the impeller in a future article. This is that article. But I’m going to do you one better and show you how to rebuild the pump entirely, not just replace the impeller. If you only want to replace the impeller, you can also use this post for that, just ignore the bits about replacing the other parts.

Most articles and videos on the web about impellers only cover how to replace the impeller and ignore the rest of the water pump. You will typically have the choice of buying just the impeller (about $25) or an entire service kit (about $40). I recommend that you opt for the kit if this will be the first time that you have opened up your water pump. Even if the impeller has been replaced before, there could be other wear inside the pump that has not yet been repaired, as you will see below.

Water Pump Anatomy 101

The pictures below make it easy to see how an outboard motor water pump works. While these pictures are from my outboard motor, to my knowledge, most other makes have a very similar design, so they should apply to your outboard too.

The first picture is of what’s called the outer plate. It’s the bottom or base of the water pump. The drive shaft goes through the center of it and the impeller sits flat on top of it. The old plate is on the left, a new plate is on the right. You can plainly see the grooves worn in the old plate from the impeller. They mean a weaker seal and potentially faster wear.


Notice in the picture above how the shaft of the pump isn’t centered on the impeller but is offset a little toward the top of the pump cavity. That isn’t an optical illusion, that’s how it’s designed. Imagine the star-shaped impeller (below) rotating clockwise around the center hole. The impeller pulls water into the pump through the semi-circular slot. When a blade passes the top of the slot (about the 2 o’clock position), it’s like a valve opening and admitting water. As the impeller rotates, the spaces between the blades on the right side of the pump get larger. That causes suction that pulls water into the pump. As a blade passes the bottom of the slot (about 5:30), the valve closes, trapping the water between the blades while the spaces between the blades are the biggest.

As the impeller continues to turn up the left side of the pump, the water trapped between the blades gets compressed as the spaces between the blades get smaller and smaller. The impeller blades bend to still fit in the smaller space.

That’s why the blades on one side of the old impeller are bent in the picture below and the blades on the other side are straighter. The bent blades were in the smaller side of the pump body when I removed the impeller. When they are new, all the blades are straight like the new impeller on the right in the picture below.


When the blades get to about the 10 o’clock position, they pass into another semi-circular slot, in the top of the pump body this time (see the picture below). The compressed water shoots out the top of the pump through a tube to the engine where it circulates before squirting out the back of the motor. The water pump works similar to a rotary combustion engine (think Mazda RX series sports cars).

In the picture below, you can see scoring in the top of the pump body similar to the bottom plate. Also notice the corrosion stain in the center. That’s from salt water seeping down through the top of the pump and sitting on top of the impeller, trapped by the impeller seal.


Now that you understand better how a water pump works, the video below will make more sense as you watch me disassemble the pump and then reassemble it with new parts. Please forgive the focus problems. The autofocus on my camera went spastic a couple of times.

Casualty of Wear

In the middle of the video, you see where one of the water pump bolts snapped off due to galvanic corrosion. What I left out of the video was me removing the broken bolt. It turned out surprisingly well, actually. I was fortunate that the bolt broke about 1/2″ above the lower unit casing and not flush or below the mating surface. After I carefully pried the top plate off the casing, I soaked a strip of paper towel in ordinary vinegar and wrapped it around the exposed part of the bolt so that the vinegar could seep into the threads over time.

I kept it saturated and after a few days, I was able to lock two nuts together on the exposed end of the bolt and back it out easily. The vinegar did a great job of dissolving the aluminum oxide. The same trick probably would have worked even if the bolt had snapped off flush, I just would have had to drill into the bolt far enough to grab it with a bolt extractor instead. The next time you discover some galvanic corrosion, unless you’re a gambling man (or woman), reach for the vinegar before things break.


I’ll be adding that bolt to my growing Hall of Shame in the article titled Beware Of Galvanic Corrosion . So far, galvanic corrosion has cost me around $100 in replacement parts that broke while trying to remove seized fasteners. Even more costly is the time lost from sailing, waiting for parts, and replacing them. I had to wait 15 weeks for a replacement masthead alone. Thank goodness a friend loaned me his spare masthead in the meantime. If the previous owner of Summer Dance would have paid better attention to corrosion prevention, it would have cost him far less than that and would have cost me nothing. Don’t neglect your own boat!

Before I close, I want to recommend a resource to you for outboard motor parts diagrams and replacement parts, . You can easily find exactly what you need there and get the parts quickly at a fair price. They’re dealers for Evinrude, Honda, Mercury, Suzuki, Tohatsu, and Yamaha, perfect for any stingy sailor. I’m not affiliated with them in any way, I just like their site.

There you have it – how to get the parts you need and how to put them in. I hope this post helped you to understand how your outboard motor’s water pump works and how easy it is to maintain. If you’re up for it, don’t spend potentially hundreds of dollars for someone else to do it for you, do it yourself! Then just keep an eye on the rate of wear each year and it won’t be a maintenance blind spot.

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5 thoughts on “ how to rebuild an outboard motor water pump ”.

Thanks for making a video for this. It made it much more clear.

Thanks so much ! Nice tutorial.

Thank you, Ken! Appreciate all you do for the small sailboat community and Catalina 22 owners in particular. Happy Independence Day!

I’m finding your site very useful as I re-furnish the boat I recently acquired. Finally they have opened the marina’s and beach’s here in Ontario, Canada. Now to go sailing and use some of your ideas. Thanks. Tom

The impeller looked so good and pliable, I would most likely flip it upside down to extend the useful life of it and keep the new parts for the next overhaul.

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  • International Boat Show of Moscow | Russia

VISIT our sailboat lines, outboard and inboard powerboat models at the  Moscow INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW .

 - from 5th through the 9th of march, 2020 -.

We invite you to join us at the  Moscow International Boat Show  to discover, in a premier showing, our models and latest innovations . Professional representatives will be available to advise and guide you in order to find the right Jeanneau for you.

We will update you as soon as possible with the list of powerboats and sailboats that will be on display at this boat show. Stay tuned!

For all the news regarding shows where Jeanneau will be present, join us on social networks!

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THE 10 BEST Boat Tours & Water Sports in District Central (TsAO) (Moscow)

Boat tours & water sports in district central (tsao).

  • Boat Rentals
  • Scuba & Snorkeling
  • Fishing Charters & Tours
  • Water Sports
  • Stand-Up Paddleboarding
  • Surfing, Windsurfing & Kitesurfing
  • Kayaking & Canoeing
  • Waterskiing & Jetskiing
  • Parasailing & Paragliding
  • River Rafting & Tubing
  • Dolphin & Whale Watching
  • Speed Boats Tours
  • Submarine Tours
  • 5.0 of 5 bubbles
  • 4.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3.0 of 5 bubbles & up
  • 3rd Transport Ring (TTK)
  • District Central (TsAO)
  • Garden Ring
  • District Northern (SAO)
  • Good for Couples
  • Good for Big Groups
  • Good for Kids
  • Budget-friendly
  • Honeymoon spot
  • Adventurous
  • Good for a Rainy Day
  • Hidden Gems
  • Good for Adrenaline Seekers
  • Things to do ranked using Tripadvisor data including reviews, ratings, photos, and popularity.

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1. Moscow River Boat Tours


2. CheapRussia Tours


3. Lovely Russia Tours




5. Dive-Project

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7. Water Taxi

8. sea wind.

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9. Russia CityPass

10. majestus.

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11. 365AltaiMongolia

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12. Russian tour operator DMC

13. sportfish tour.

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14. Magiya Otdykha

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15. Aviashop.Ru

17. moskva s gidom.

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18. Follow Locals

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19. LoveYachting

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What travelers are saying.

Darshana Ratnayake

Moscow Boat Tour

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See all the gems of historical and cultural center of the capital in short time and without traffic jams or tiresome walking.

Depending on the itinerary and duration of the Moscow River boat trip, the tour can be 3 or 5 hours.

Highlights of the tour

  • St Basil’s Cathedral;
  • Stalin skyscraper on Kotelnicheskaya (Tinkers) embankment;
  • The Kremlin;
  • “House on the Embankment” Stalin skyscraper;
  • Monument to Peter I;
  • The Central House of Artists;
  • Christ the Savior Cathedral;
  • Gorky Park;
  • Moscow State University;
  • Russian Academy of Sciences;
  • Luzhniki stadium;
  • Novodevichy Monastery;
  • Kiev railway station;
  • Europe Square;
  • Moscow City Hall;
  • Government House;
  • Expocentre Exhibition Complex;
  • and other famous sights.

You will learn about the different epochs of the city from the foundation in 1147 till Soviet times of 20 th  century.

Moscow River

Moskva river has the form of a snake and is the main waterway of Moscow, consisting of a cascade of reservoirs. Within the city, Moskva river is 80 km long, 120 m - 200 m wide and up to 14 m deep. The narrowest part of the river is the Kremlin area in the city center, and the most extensive is around the Luzhniki Stadium in the south. 

Bridges in Moscow

Undoubtedly, bridges and embankments are among the most scenic spots and main attractions of Moscow. Plus, they are so romantic.

  • Bolshoy Kamenny Bridge –  Great Stone Bridge –  is the main bridge of Moscow . The first stone bridge was constructed here in the 17th century.
  • Patriarshy Bridge  is one of the youngest pedestrian bridges, built in 2004. The bridge connects the iconic Christ the Saviour Cathedral with funky Bersenevskaya embankment, extremely popular place among locals for its trendy art galleries, cafes and panoramic views. Patriarshy Bridge used to be a shooting location for ex-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's New Year speech to the nation.
  • Borodinsky Bridge,  erected in honor of the 100th anniversary of the glorious victory in the Battle of Borodino (which every Russian kid knows about), a fierce legendary battle during the Russo-French war of 1812.
  • Bagration Bridge  one of the  pedestrian bridges with most picturesque views of the Moskva River with its numerous upper-level observation platforms. The bridge was erected to celebrate the 850th anniversary of Moscow city in 1997.
  • Krymsky Bridge  used to be in Top 5 Europe’s longest bridges some 100 years ago. The bridge got its name after the ancient Krymsky ford which Crimean Tartars used to invade Moscow in the 16 th  century.

Embankments of Moscow

Moscow river boats 37 embankments, the most popular being Kremlevskaya, Sofiyskaya, Pushkinskaya, Vorobyovskaya and Kolomenskaya.

You can get the most spectacular views of the Kremlin from  Kremlevskaya and Sofiyskaya embankments.

  • Pushkinkaya embankment  is the most romantic in Moscow. It meanders along Gorky Park and Neskuchnyi garden and is rich for all kinds of entertainment as well as cozy nooks, including Olivkovy beach, the famous Zeleny theater as well as a pier for river cruisers.
  • Vorobyevskaya embankment  is part of Sparrow Hills nature reserve. This place opens a beautiful panorama of the river and city from the observation deck and is considered to be the place for taking serious decisions in life.
  • Embankment in Kolomenskoye  Museum-Reserve has a special charm due to its peculiar geographical relief. The boat trip around Kolomenskoye would be the most peaceful in your life.
  • Taras Shevchenko embankment  is popular among photographers for its modern Moscow City skyscrapers. Highly recommended for your night boat trip.
  • Embankments of Moscow are the pride of the capital. A distinctive feature of each of the promenades is its architecture and beautiful views. In addition, almost all the embankments of Moscow have a rich history and a lot of notable buildings.

Different epochs

Taking a walk along the Moskva River by boat, you will witness the architecture of Moscow from different eras and styles. Archaeological studies indicate that already in the XI century there stood a fortified settlement on Borovitsky hill, which is now called the Kremlin. Little fortress could not accommodate all the residents of the rapidly growing city, and the Grand Duke ordered the construction of a new Kremlin, larger than the former.

Boat trip around Kolomenskoe Park

Moscow river boat trip starts from the pier Klenovy (Maple) Boulevard and provides reat views of Nicholas Perervinsky monastery.

Nicholas Perervinsky monastery was founded at the time of the Battle of Kulikov (1380). The monastery, got its name from the surrounding area – “Pererva”, which can be translated like “tear off” and because of the location –  here it abruptly changed its course, turning to Kolomna, standing on the opposite bank.

Nowadays Kolomenskoye is State Art, Historical, Architectural and Natural Landscape Museum-Reserve, which doors are open to everyone who wants to get in touch with the ancient history of Russia.

Take a break from the big city hustle in the shady parks and gardens of the Kolomenskoe Museum-Reserve. Don’t miss a wonderful Church of the Ascension and Tsar Alexey’s Palace in Kolomenskoye!

Monasteries and temples

  • Novospassky Monastery
  • Founded in the 13th century on the site where now is located the Danilovsky monastery. After a few decades, in 1330, Ivan Kalita moved the monastery onto the Borovitskii hill of the Kremlin. However, in the 15th century, Spassky Monastery again moved, this time to a more spacious place on Krasnoholmskaya waterfront.
  • Church of St. Nicholas in Zayaitskom
  • Erected in the middle of the XVIII century in baroque style. The building survived after the 1812 fire, but the utensils were destoyed. Parishioners collected donations and restored the temple on their own. In Soviet times, it was closed and re-opened only in 1992.
  • Cathedral of Christ the Savior
  • The church was originally erected in honor of the victory over Napoleon and was being under construction for long 44 years. Notoriously demolished in 1937 to be a giant swimming pool under open sky. The current building was constructed in 1990s. It is the tallest and one of the largest Orthodox churches in the world.
  • The temple was built in 1679-82, during the reign of Tsar Fedor Alekseevich, in late Muscovite Baroque style and can be characterized as bonfire temple. Each gable is a symbol of a heavenly fire.
  • Novodevichy Convent
  • The most famous concent and monastery in Moscow, presumably founded in 1524. Novodevichy’s status has always been high among other monasteries, it was in this monastery where the women of the royal blood, the wives of Tsars and local rulers of Moscow were kept in prison as nuns.
  • St. Andrew’s church  (male acts as Compound Patriarch of Moscow)
  • St. Andrew’s church stands right on the slopes of the Sparrow Hills, on the way down to the Moskva River, on the territory of the Nature Reserve “Sparrow Hills”. The monastery is small in size but is very cozy. It’s situated in a quiet courtyard surrounded by temples, fruit trees and flowers.

What you get:

  • + A friend in Moscow.
  • + Private & customized Moscow river cruise.
  • + An exciting pastime, not just boring history lessons.
  • + An authentic experience of local life.
  • + Flexibility: changes can be made at any time to suit individual preferences.
  • + Amazing deals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the very best cafes & restaurants. Discounts on weekdays (Mon-Fri).
  • + A photo session amongst spectacular Moscow scenery that can be treasured for a lifetime.
  • + Good value for souvenirs, taxis, and hotels.
  • + Expert advice on what to do, where to go, and how to make the most of your time in Moscow.

Write your review


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