By Bob Mueller
Whale Supersub Smart 650 bilge pumpThe Supersub Smart 650 bilge pump from Whale has a unique low-profile shape for easier installation in locations where traditional bilge pumps may not fit.
Only available for 12-volt systems, the Supersub Smart 650 includes an electric field sensor to detect the presence of water. This sensor is an improvement over traditional float switches, which can become fouled with debris or falsely triggered by rough wave action. The field sensor and pump motor electronics are completely sealed against water intrusion.
The strainer intake rotates 360 degrees to suit a variety of mounting options. The pump disengages easily from the strainer should it become fouled with debris that gets past the strainer. The strainer also includes a vent to prevent air locks.
If you have a compartment where a traditional bilge pump cannot be installed, such as a shallow locker just under the cockpit sole, a Supersub pump makes a great option. You can also install it directly under an engine that’s too close to the hull for a traditional bilge pump.
Although mounted as low as possible, the traditional bilge pump installed in my boat left well over a gallon of water in the bilge, which I had to pull out with a hand pump and sponge. However, the Supersub pump’s unique shape allowed me to mount it lower in the bilge, where it lifted all but a few ounces of water.
The Supersub Smart 650 is great for a sailboat keel, where the space between the hull sides is narrow. Note that this pump must be installed horizontally for proper operation. It cannot be installed on an angle or vertically.
The flow rate for bilge pumps generally doesn’t take into account the distance the pump has to lift the water. A pump installed in the keel of a sailboat may have to pump the water much farther than a pump installed just under the cockpit sole.
The Supersub Smart 650 pumps 550 gph when lifting the water approximately 3.3 feet. Other Supersub models can pump more, so keep this in mind when choosing one.
This is a good backup pump for places where a traditional pump can’t reach.
P/C Bob Mueller, JN, is SERAT team leader for Ohio’s Berea Power Squadron/7, an instructor, and a vessel examiner, and he serves on the Squadron Activities Committee and SERAT subcommittee. He has been boating on the Great Lakes for the last 23 years.
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