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Bilge Systems

Most states in Australia have a requirement that vessels with enclosed compartments or cockpits must have a means of removing bilge water if they are not self-draining. This is only common sense - in choppy conditions and when launching in waves you will nearly always get water in the cockpit and if a capsize occurs you may not necessarily get the kayak fully drained during a self- or assisted rescue.

In reality this should not be the case - the cockpit should be emptied as much as possible before re-entry (see Learn to Kayak)- we use our Beckson Hand Pump more for cleaning out the kayak!  It pumps sand and heavy grit with ease, never gets blocked and we have had most pumps still functioning after 6 years of work! Sponges are great way of cleaning up the remaining drips and splashes over you cockpit

Under flat conditions a hand pump is usually sufficient but if you kayak in challenging conditions or like to surf, you will want to be able to pump out your kayak while leaving your hands free to keep paddling. This is where an electronic bilge system comes into its own and when you need it you need it! And it can get exciting!