Bilge pump installation on a Hobie Outback

Below is a short video and a few photographs showing the basic installation and test of a Rule automatic bilge pump into my Hobie Outback.


I must state that my kayak does not leak!, however, ANY kayak has the potential to start leaking, whether it be a cracked scupper, perforated hull, open drain plug, leaking hatch, etc. It’s piece of mind should the worst ever happen. No different from carrying a manual bilge pump,flares, radio, paddle float, throw line, strobe lights, compass, etc.

The advantage over the manual pump is that in this case it operates electrically, manually or automatically (model dependent), you can head into shore without being sat their pumping. What’s the chance of it ever being used?, hopefully nil… but there again we say that about all the other items of safety equipment that we carry with us.


It was suggested on a UK fishing forum that my 7aH SLA battery would be drained in no time by this pump, especially as I run my FF, GPS and navigation light off the same battery.

The current draw of the Rule 500gph pump is 1.9A. The Elite 4 DSI pulls 0.75A, navigation light 0.2A and my Garmin 60CSx 0.15A (these are all manufacturers figures). That said, I’ve used the Lowrance and Garmin for 10 hours with the battery still showing over 12V. That did raise questions over the ACTUAL current draw of these items.

So I popped into the garage and broke into the circuit with a multi-meter and took some readings.


The Lowrance DSI (backlight on full) current draw varies between 0.15-0.19A

The Garmin 60Csx (backlight on full) current draw is steady at 0.06A

The navigation light pulls 0.12A

The Rule 500GPH pulls 0.69A (no load)


Looking at those figures, during a night trip, my current draw is 0.37A. Even if I was afloat for 6-7 hours I’d have used well under half the battery capacity. Theoretically that give me at least two hours bilge pump running time (using the Rule current draw figure of 1.9A). That’s MORE than enough to get me back to land should the worst ever happen.

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Chris Payne

A lifelong Texan, Chris Payne has been an outdoor enthusiast his entire life and has spent the last 15 years fishing mainly from a kayak. He is known for his thorough and helpful reviews as well as how to articles for nearly everything kayak fishing related. If you have questions or comments, you can leave them on this post or email Chris at:

One thought on “Bilge pump installation on a Hobie Outback

  • April 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm

    Wow! Never thought of that. Thanks for another great write-up Rob!


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