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Engine bay / stern gland bay - tap

I recently noticed that there is a tap connecting the engine bay to the stern gland bay, so I should be able to use the stern gland pump to empty the engine bay of water/fuel/oil. Whilst it would not be right/legal to dump these liquids in to the canal as I can collect it in a bucket, is the pump designed to deal with oil or will it ruin the pump?

Asked by: Chris Marriott  | 10.09pm, Tuesday 30 August

WW says:

Most pumps are designed to move a mixture of bilge water and oil- however, once it has moved any oil, the pump and associated pipework will become contaminated, so you will almost certainly be continuing to discharge oil in your bilge water for a long time afterwards. The best way to remove oil, is to use oil-absorption mats, which selectively remove hydrocarbons, leaving the water safe to discharge overboard. Also, if you have significant oil contamination in the engine drip tray, that does point to possible issues with the engine/gearbox that need sorting.
A seperate pump (or even a bailer made from a milk bottle carton) would probably be the best way of removing the oil contaminated water for disposal ashore, then using a oil-absorption mat to catch future residues.

Mark Langley  | 12.01PM, Wednesday 31 August

It sounds as though you have a tap linking the closed drip tray under the engine to the bilge area under the stern gland. Under BSS requirements you cannot have a fixed bilge pump in the drip tray which is designed to contain all the oil contained in the engine and gearbox in the event of a catastrophic failure, preventing it getting into the bilge. It is sometimes however necessary to remove water from this area.
Bilge pumps are designed to pump dirty water and will cope with a bit of oil floating on top of the water, but will not pump oil. It would not be a good idea to drain oil into the bilge area as it would be very difficult to get it clean again.

Rupert Smedley  | 12.11PM, Wednesday 31 August

Readers say:

A pump that will pump water will certainly pump oil. You must not knowingly pump oil into a river or canal. You can buy a filter to trap the oil from a bilge pump but it is only able to deal with minute amounts such as a film floating on the water.

Martin Ross  | 5.26PM, Thursday 8 September

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