Boat Pump Out Etiquette

Aug 16, 2018 | Boat Storage & Maintenance | 0 comments

It is every boat owner’s least favorite chore, but it has to be done: pumping out The Tank. With holding tanks comes great responsibility, however, Northshore Marina has put together an easy guide to help the pumping flow smoothly.

How to properly pump out The steps are relatively simple, but it’s essential to know and understand your system and read the posting at the pump-out station.

  1. Remove deck cap
  2. Insert hose down into tank
  3. Turn the pump on and open the valve
  4. When nothing else comes out, close the valve and remove the hose
  5. Flush water through the head and tank, then pump out (optional)
  6. Rinse the hose before replacing it
  7. Replace the deck cap and making sure it’s seated properly

Macerators Larger tanks come equipped with a macerator and a hull seacock that can make pumping out quicker and cleaner. The Y-valve or hull opening should be kept closed and locked to eliminate the possibility of pulling lake water into the tank during pumping – or the chance of waste going into the lake.

When to pump – and when not to pump Pumping out the tank isn’t necessarily part of a scheduled routine. However, there are a couple rules of thumb to follow:

  • Never trailer your boat with a full tank. Just don’t. Trust us on this one.
  • Don’t let the tank get to overflowing before pumping.
  • Don’t pump if there’s only a small amount of waste in the tank. The bacteria need to grow in order to do their job.
  • If you’re passing a pumping station, consider popping in for a quick pump-n-run.
  • Never pump into the lake or pop the hull cock to flush through.

Acceptable places to pump Northshore Marina has a conveniently-located pump-out station on the fuel dock, fully acceptable to watercraft of all sizes. Northshore Marina also provides a mobile pump out barge that will pump out vessels moored at our location upon request. If you find yourself out and about, there are numerous stations available along the river. Make sure you’re familiar with where they are and plan accordingly.

Tank maintenance Aside from regular pumping, there’s not a whole lot to do regarding tank maintenance. Rinsing the tank at pump-out will keep the interior of the tank cleaner, possibly avoiding buildup that can interfere with pumping. Marine tank treatment is a good solution to reducing the smell in your black water tanks and is available at Northshore Marina’s Ship Store. NEVER pour bleach down the head.

Don’t pump ‘n dump: Nothing – and I mean nothing – brings out the wrath in fellow boaters like motoring past a watercraft that’s pumping in the middle of the lake. Sure, it might seem convenient to YOU since you bought yourself a fancy stand-alone pump-out kit – but what about the lake? Your fellow boaters and swimmers? There’s never a good excuse to dump in the lake. Just don’t do it.

After a day on Lake Travis, stop by our ship store for everything from beverages to safety equipment. We also have the largest selection of water toys on the lake. When it comes to fuel, our modern pumps and three staff members will get you topped off with premium fuel and out in a jiffy.


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