Bilge Bug – Electronic Bilge Switch – A Full Review

The Bilge Bug is an electronic bilge switch; designed to replace traditional float switches in the marine environment. Anyone who’s ever owned a  boat knows about the constant battle of  achieving a dry bilge.  Water collects at the lowest point of a boat which is known as the bilge.  A small amount of water  is not often a cause for concern, however; an inspection  is necessary to determine whether the water is a major problem or that of less urgency.   Some examples of a major concern would be a  leaky stopcock, toilet,  thru hull fitting or damage to the hull; all of which and fairly serious and can lead to your boat sinking quite rapidly.

Less problemasensortically, water can make it’s way to the bilge via leaky windows, topside deck fittings, condensation from cooking and living as well as cleaning and spilt drinks. Someone once told me the best way to check if a leak is major is by tasting the water. If it tastes like salt then you have a problem (the sea’s leaking in), if it’s fresh then it’s most likely rainwater topside of the boat. I tasted the water in my bilge once and to my delight it was fresh. I later worked out that it had come from  a leaky joint on the Jabsco toilet, where the pipe had been fitted with too much angle (Ewwww)!


The Bilge Bug is light, solidly built and genuinely seems like it could sit at the bottom of a bilge for a lifetime, all whilst carrying on its work unscathed.   Like most bilge switches, some light cleaning maintenance will keep it in good working order but other than that it will require no major maintenance.

Traditional float switches rely on a mechanical lever to trigger a bilge pump to turn on. The bilge bug eliminates the risk of mechanical failure by using two electronic sensors to trigger a pump of your choice. Of course, your pump can always fail whether your switch is working or not, but you reduce your risk dramatically.  Unlike other switches, the wiring is shielded and more resistant to damage.

bilgebug-diagramWith the versatility of the mounting holes, installation is easy and you can be as creative as you like.  The two dome sensors on either side have to come into contact with water to trigger a pump  which is something to be mindful of however. The screw fixing holes can be used to attach the float switch or you can use glue or resin bonding to fix it to the hull.

My only real quarrel or problem with the Bilge Bug is the price, but as we all know you get what you pay for.  If you want to have a cheaper switch protecting your beloved, then go ahead. But if you want solid assurance, then it’s worth paying the extra money and buying the Bilge Bug.

  • Voltage: 12 to 24v DC
  • Max current: 7A Max
  • Quiescent Current: 15mA at 12v DC
  • Max Amb Temp: 40c
  • Switch On Delay: 10s
  • Switch Off Delay: 13s
  • Output Stage: Solid State
  • Reverese Polarirty Protected
  • High Mechanical Resistant
  • Fully Encapsulated IP67



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