Bilge limber holes

I have a question about my bilge. The bilge has a bulkhead aft of the galley, a bulkhead forward of the galley , then a chain holding partition two feet forward, and lastly a partition forward of the mast.. My two bilge pumps are at the forward end of the bilge, just aft of the head bulkhead. I want bilge water to move freely from under the pilothouse to the pumps. The first owner cut a two inch hole in the PH bulkhead and a two inch hole in the forward partition. Both holes are an inch above the bilge bottom, so they do nothing to drain most bilge water. They were probably intended for emergency drainage. There are one inch slits in the two partitions at the sides but these limber “holes” get clogged easily and become useless. I want to drill a 1/4″ hole in each of the bulkheads/partitions in the center bottom, as low as possible. Is there a problem developed by doing this? Does this sound OK with you? Do you have any other suggestion? Anonymous

a. This is a tricky job, face down in the bilge! I made quarter circle cut-outs each side in my original bilge bulkheads; easy to do before glassing them in. I can’t see a problem in drilling holes now, but I would suggest larger than 1/4″, say 3/4″ at least. You will also find this easier using a right-angle drive drill or adapter I should think. After drilling you should paint the raw wood or glass with epoxy. Regards, David S. (#050, Opportunity).

b. Weird !!! As my bilge had a few bulkheads but there was a 1″ channel along each side of the bilge cavity that was below the floor level of the bilge. Those channels ran right to a 12″ Sump cavity (lower than the bilge floor) at the mast compression post in the bilge. You need to drill about a 1″ hole in each corner of the bulkhead at floor level (remember, because of heel …) and then saw out the part that’s round at the floor level. You will end up with a horseshoe shape with no wood at the floor level. Maybe you could try to position your wood bit or holesaw at the very lower corner of the bulkhead and you may get away with minimum sawing after …… ????? Paint the raw wood with epoxy. Cheers, Frank B. (#186, Visitant).

c. There is no problem doing this. I would make those holes a minimum of 1″ because a 1/4″ hole will always be clogged. Have a wonderful day. Marius Corbin