® | Official Canadian Boating License

Bailers and Water Pumps

Red bailer buckets used to remove water from boats. A bailer is a container that is capable of removing water from a small vessel.

A bailer must be made of plastic or metal, have an opening diameter of at least 9cm, and be capable of holding at least 750ml of water. Some boats may carry a manual water pump in place of a bailer.

For a Manual Water Pump, the pump along with its hose must:

  • Be long enough to reach from the bilge (lowest part of the boat where water collects) to the boat’s side; and
  • Be capable of discharging water over the side of the boat.

Larger vessels may have an automatic bilge pumping system to remove water that has collected in the bottom of the boat. These pump systems are very fast and effective at removing large amounts of water from the bilge. Bailers and bilge pumping requirements are based on the length of the vessel.

REMEMBER: A bailer or manual bilge pump is not required for a boat if it cannot hold enough water to make it capsize, and is fitted with sealed watertight compartments.

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