Jet Ski Bilge Pump (What Is It & When To Use It)

If you own a jet ski yourself, you might have heard about the bilge pump. It’s an essential component of a jet ski. It has multiple functions. However, a lot of people are now buying jet skis for themselves but don’t have a proper idea about what does a ride plate do on a jet ski. That is why with this article, I’d like to educate some of the newbies out there. 

Bilge pumps are basically water pumps that can be found on both boats and jet skis. They bring out the water from inside the Jet Ski to the sea. That’s why they are normally placed on the backside of the ski. They serve a very crucial role to ensure safety on a jet ski.

That being said, if you want a detailed idea about what bilge pumps do and all the other aspects about them, then read this whole article. I’ll explain all the necessary things you need to know about jet ski bilge pumps. 

What Is A Bilge Pump?

A bilge pump is an important element that can be found on almost any boat. It basically removes water from the inside of the boat. Like all other boats, jet skis also contain bilge pumps.

Portable Bicycle Inflator

Bilge pumps have now become a very crucial part of boats as well as jet skis. The bilge pump’s job is to remove water that has accumulated in the bilge, which is located under the interior of the hull.

Most of the time, water that stores in the bilge is incidental. Mostly they are rainwater or wash-down water that accumulates in the bilge when you’re cleaning the boat or the ski.

Additionally, built-in coolers also release water. This water from built-in coolers, the lips surrounding big hatches, and even drink holders on larger boats are normally discharged outside, while this water is simply directed to the bilge on smaller boats.

Minor leaks, such as water flowing from an inboard boat’s shaft gland, can also cause water to pool in the bilge.

Bilge Pumps provide great safety for skis. However, only a small percentage of skis have a bilge pump large enough to prevent the boat from sinking in the event of a disaster, such as a hole in the ski.

Even in that case, the bilge pump or pumps may provide you with enough time to fix or reduce the leak, ask for help, or take the ski to the shore safely.

Where Are Bilge Pumps Situated On A Ski?

At the bilge’s bottom position, at least one pump or bilge pump collector should be placed. Each enclosed space on larger vessels must have one that can hold water. The drainage exit must be at least eight inches well above water level.

Jet ski bilge pumps should be accessible so that you may examine the pump and its float, as well as clean debris from around the pump pickup. 

How to Check the Bilge Pump on A Jet Ski?

Testing the bilge pump regularly is essential for safety. It ensures that the pump is working properly. This way, you can avert a potential crisis later on. But, checking the pump could be tricky sometimes. That is why here I’ll talk about how to check the bilge pump properly. 

Step 1

Bring the jet ski from the water and place it on the trailer. Using a spirit level, level the trailer. Disconnect the rear seat and the attached storage box by lifting the clasp under the back of the seat. To remove the front seat, lift the clasp beneath the back of the seat and tilt it up.

Step 2

The bilge hose is on the right side of the jet pump, on the starboard side. Using a Phillips screwdriver, unscrew the hose end and remove the four screws from the bilge strainer. You have to separate the bilge strainer from the bilge strainer holder.

Then, examine the strainer for contaminants and, if required, clean it. Change the strainer if it has cracks. Examine the bilge hose for cracks and damage, and repair it if needed. Replace the bilge hose and strainer in their original bilge positions.

Step 3

Remove the lid from the flushing hose connector, which is situated right below the handlebars on the starboard side of the centerline. Turn the garden hose adapter clockwise to secure it snuggly into the hose connector.

Step 4

Utilizing the garden hose, fill the bilge until the bilge strainer is submerged. Then, turn off the garden hose. Connect the flushing hose connection to the garden hose. Start the engine and fully extend the garden hose. Watch the bilge water level for 3 minutes while running the engine at idle. The water level should plummet dramatically.

Step 5

Lastly, turn off the water supply. After 15 seconds of squeezing and releasing the throttle lever, turn off the engine. Again, replace the cap on the garden hose adapter and reconnect it to the flushing hose connector.

How to Install A Bilge Pump

If you want to install a bilge pump on your jet ski, you’ve to follow some guidelines. Else, you will not be able to install the pump correctly and it will not be useful to your skiing. Here’s what you have to do. 

Buying A Jet Ski Pump kit

The very first thing to do is to purchase a bilge pump kit for jet skis. It’s very important that you only buy a top-class pump with enough storage. 

The rating of the pump should be a minimum of 1000 gallons per hour. However, it is very difficult to find one with such a high rating. So, carefully buy a heavy-duty pump with a large capacity.

Drilling a hole in your Jet Ski

To install a pump on your ski, the first thing you have to do is to drill a hole on the surface of the jet ski. You should do it very carefully and slowly with an electric drill. 

The hole must be above the level of the water. A damaged hose or a loose outlet might cause your ski to sink. So, don’t put the outlet below the waterline. Install the outlet fitting in the upper deck of the jet ski.


After the hole, you can install the switch and the wiring. You must attach an automatic bilge pump directly to the battery if you have one. 

However, you also need to locate a place to install the switch for the pump. You can put the switch either under the seat or in your glovebox. For safety reasons, I would recommend you use an aluminum bracket for your switch holder. 

Mounting the pump

Now you have to mount the bilge pump. It’s better to test the pump in a bucket of water before installing it. 

The bilge pump bracket should be tightly attached to the hull to prevent the pump from bouncing about. That is why you can also use special glue to fix the pump firmly. You can place the pump at the backside of the jet ski.

Installing the hose

Lastly, you need to attach the hull outlet fitting with the pump. However, to mitigate flow loss, you can use a wall hose. 

The water will flow through the hose. But, always remember to avoid routing the hose near sources of high heat. This can greatly damage the hose. 


As jet skis are getting popular nowadays, their safety has become a serious issue. Bilge pumps are a necessary part of jet ski safety. However, not many people know the importance of these pumps. That’s why in this article I discussed what does a ride plate do on a jet ski

Hope it has been useful to you. Thanks for stopping by. 

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Written by Water Diversions

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