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Rigger Tricks: The Pump-o-Matic
posted on August 22, 2012

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Pump-o-Matic...rollin' out!
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This hack hard at work, so you don't have to work hard.
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Okay, so it is late summer and maybe not much daily rowing is happening at your place: classes haven't started yet, Canley and Masters Nationals left folks knackered, the Charles still seems like it MIGHT be really far "around the corner" … and so the boathouse might be a quiet paradise for the folks charged with fixing all the daily wear-and-tear a year's worth of rowing can dish out--and in many ways it is--but an empty boathouse can also mean a bunch of idle launches sitting on the dock, filling with rain water. What's a lone launch bailer to do in an empty boat club? Well, hack up a Pump-o-Matic, of course!

This week's hack has a pretty specific purpose--it is a self-contained, car-battery-powered bilge pump on a hand truck--and it is perfectly suited for its one task: saving the back and the tired arms of the one person who makes sure none of the launches sink after a week's worth of rain. The Pump-o-Matic wheels right down to the dock, switches on with no lengthy extension cord needed, and happily spews out all the water without anyone breaking a sweat. If you have ever pumped out any size launch with any size manual pump, we know you are right here with us when we say, "What a great hack!"

Sure, you could install an automatic bilge if your launches have batteries, but those can run the battery down, whereas the Pump-o-Matic gets wheeled back into the shop and, conveniently, lives next to the charger. Sure, you might have wakeless pontoon launches that don't fill like buckets when it rains, well, buckets--but, spoiler-alert, those pontoons do tend to leak, and the hose on the Pump-o-Matic can take care of those, too. Sure, you could just pull the launches up on the dock during the dead-time, but the Pump-o-Matic is perfect for the times when that just doesn't get done and there is not an eight or two worth of rowers around to do the heavy lifting.

What we are saying is this: if you had a Pump-o-Matic, you'd use it. Trust us.

The Pump-o-Matic is not sold in stores of course, at least not in a version hacked this neatly, but all it requires is a marine battery, a bilge and hose, some wiring, an on/off switch…and wheels. The hand-truck works great because the whole thing stands vertical when not in use, and you get to stay vertical when moving it around, but a dolly or any sort of wheeled cart big enough to handle the battery would serve just as well.

Have a great contraption for getting your boathouse chores done? Share your tips--and hacks--in the comments below.

Have a great rowing hack for future inclusion here? Send it to us!

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A rotating cast of characters full of boathouse secrets.

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