When small boats, ranging from about 15 to 25 ft. long, are docked or moored, they fill up with water when it rains. This creates a problem for owners who have to travel to remove water from their boats before the vessel is damaged or sinks.
Although simple automatic bailing systems exist now, the battery often runs out. The current systems are very costly and ultimately unproductive.
As part of their Senior Design Project, Andrew Francis, Srilalitha Kumaresan, Henry Lok, Mason Tan, and Alexander Whittemore, members of the team, Sailboat Bailer, hoped to make life easier for small boat owners.
“The problem with existing models is that sailboat owners need to be around to charge the pump,” said Francis.
The team worked with Professor Mark Horenstein (ECE), Boston University, to build an automatic rechargeable system that uses solar panels to bail out small boats efficiently.
Team Sailboat Bailer won one of two Design Excellence Awards at ECE Day ’12.
The team decided to design a system that runs on a rechargeable battery using a small portable solar panel at maximum efficiency. The water collected in the boat is removed by the bailing system to keep the water level below the specified amount to prevent damage.
“The pump does not need to keep up with the storm, but rather, it should always keep the water level in the boat below a specified depth,” the team explained in their project description. “Once the pump has emptied the water in the bottom of the boat collected from a long storm, the battery may need to be recharged. After recharging, the battery should once again be able to bail the bilge of the boat.”