Sticky Gooey Mud! We Need a Washdown Pump!

So what do we wish we had added before we left to go cruising?    Outfitting Winterlude we both wanted a saltwater washdown hose for the foredeck.   At the time there was so much going on and we were spending a small fortune so when the pros recommended we NOT add the washdown pump — I don’t remember the exact rationale, but it was going to be a major ordeal, we opted not to do it.

That might have been a BAD decision!  Or at least David thinks so every time he’s standing on the bow, bringing up all that muddy clay yuck on the chain.  He takes a bucket with a long line and scoops water to rinse the chain as it comes up as best he can, but we still have creeping crud on our decks until we get back to civilization — or there’s a heavy rain, whichever comes first.

A friend, Nick on s/v War Dept, brings up muddy anchor using his washdown pump

We love muddy anchorages – Russell Key in the 10,000 Islands comes to mind – despite the daily and somewhat scary current swing dance, if we set the anchor securely, it’s buried so far in that sticky mud that we’re not going anywhere!   But when it comes time to bring up the anchor and that sticky gooey mud is everywhere, it’s easy to wish for deep white sand bottoms!   And after it dries, it adheres to our teak decks like glue or worse.  🙁

We have to haul out this fall for bottom paint — our current bottom paint has lasted since 2009 – it’s Islands 44 paint that’s unavailable here in the US, but in Panama it was very popular — and we have a list of projects a mile long already.  But I think we need to reconsider that saltwater washdown pump.  Here’s the one we’re tentatively looking at … a Jabsco 32900 Washdown Pump Kit.   Even if we don’t have room and even if it’s not perfect, hopefully it will still be better than the bucket!

When this anchor came up, we had a muddy mess!

Anyone out there have a washdown pump arrangement that they particularly like?  Preferably one that takes little room and installs easily? Jabsco, Shurflow or other?  What do you like, what do you hate?  4 PSI or more?  How many amps does it take?  Self-priming, I’m assuming?  We could use a recommendation!

Cheers & THANKS!   Jan & David




  1. We love our wash-down pump. It is connected to our galley sink water pickup and the actual pump sits out of the way in a closet. We use it for chain and also for us to shower with a rinse from a black garden sprayer.

    Any of the popular brand pumps will work fine but get as much pressure as possible. We have a hose bib on the deck and connect to that with a regular hose and brass hose nozzle.

    Don’t forget to put a small filter in line with the incoming water – most pump kits contain a filter.

    Greg & Nancy

  2. Jan & David

    About 1/2hr (or last cup of tea) before I leave an anchorage I shorten up my chain until nearly vertical and let the water rinse off the mud. When ready to leave then I use the wash down pump.

  3. Mark-Sue Lawrence via Facebook says:

    We received a Groco system (mounted on starboard) with the boat on delivery, new in 2003. A bit expensive, but has worked flawlessly for last 9 years. Pretty good for a saltwater environment.

  4. I installed one in our Tartan TOCK 41 a few years ago, and its really been useful. The original thought was to use it solely for anchor chain washdown, but I also use it for fish cleaning, hosing out the dink, washing down pretty much anything that requires lots of water, and then I rinse with fresh. I have a fresh water washdown pump as well which is there for a rinse after swimming, I mounted them near each other, so the idea of using salt and then the fresh rinse made sense. Current draw doesn’t matter at all since the only time it would be in continuous use is when hauling up the anchor, which always happens when the engine is running anyway. –Mike

    PS: what yard are you going to haul out at? American? or, down in Ft Myers?

    • Hi Mike! THANKS for the washdown pump info! Right now our thought is to haul at Olsen’s Marine in Ft Myers Beach — we’ve gotten favorable comments from others who have used them over the years. We’re not going to do the bottom paint job ourselves, although we should. I just don’t want to start the cruising season sanding and prepping the bottom for new paint. Is that the ultimate in lazy or what! 🙂 Do you have somewhere you’d recommend? Cheers! Jan

  5. Hi, Jan…
    Can’t recommend any particular yard by 1st hand experience, since I haven’t hauled my boat there yet. But, I have heard about Olsen’s, and everyone says they are good. The other one I heard about is a do it yourself place called American, in Gasparilla. I am told its the economy model, no frills, but you can do the work yourself, or bring in contractors, whatever you like.

  6. I’ll have to check back and see what others say. I have a fresh water tank that I had hooked up to the toilet, until I realized that if you flush all the time, regardless if it’s salt or fresh, it won’t stink. If you don’t, it will. So, I’m going to replumb that into a new wash down pump that I haven’t installed yet. I think I want the hose to exit in the middle of the boat somewhere, so I can use the spray on the front and back of the boat. I have the tank already plumbed into a nice rain collector, so that’ll help with not using the house drinking water.
    w/v Renasci

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