46 CFR 56.50-55 - Bilge pumps.

§ 56.50-55 Bilge pumps.

(a)Self-propelled vessels.

(1) Each self-propelled vessel must be provided with a power-driven pump or pumps connected to the bilge main as required by table 56.50-55(a).

Table 56.50-55(a) - Power Bilge Pumps Required for Self-Propelled Vessels

Vessel length, in feet Passenger vessels 1 Dry-cargo vessels 2 Tank
Mobile offshore drilling units
International voyages 3 Ocean, coast-wise and Great Lakes All other waters Ocean, coast-wise and Great Lakes All waters All waters All waters
180′ or more 4 3 4 3 2 2 2 2 2
Below 180′ and exceeding 65′ 4 3 5 2 5 2 5 2 5 2 2 2
65′ or less 3 1 1 1 1 1

1 Small passenger vessels under 100 gross tons refer to subpart 182.520 of subchapter T (Small Passenger Vessel) of this chapter.

2 Dry-bulk carriers having ballast pumps connected to the tanks outside the engineroom and to the cargo hold may substitute the appropriate requirements for tank vessels.

3 Not applicable to passenger vessels which do not proceed more than 20 mile from the nearest land, or which are employed in the carriage of large numbers of unberthed passengers in special trades.

4 When the criterion numeral exceeds 30, an additional independent power-driven pump is required. (See part 171 of this chapter for determination of criterion numeral.)

5 Vessels operating on lakes (including Great Lakes), bays, sounds, or rivers where steam is always available, or where a suitable water supply is available from a power-driven pump of adequate pressure and capacity, may substitute siphons or eductors for one of the required power-driven pumps, provided a siphon or eductor is permanently installed in each hold or compartment.

(b)Nonself-propelled vessels.

(1) Ocean going sailing vessels and barges shall be provided with pumps connected to the bilge main as required in table 56.50-55(b)(1).

Table 56.50-55(b)(1) - Bilge Pumps Required for Nonself-Propelled Vessels

Type of vessel Waters navigated Power pumps (1) Hand pumps
Sailing Ocean and coastwise Two (2)
Manned barges ......do Two (2)
Manned barges Other than ocean and coastwise (3) (3)
Unmanned barges All waters (3) (3)
Mobile offshore drilling units All waters Two None.

1 Where power is always available, independent power bilge pumps shall be installed as required and shall be connected to the bilge main.

2 Efficient hand pumps connected to the bilge main may be substituted for the power pumps. Where there is no common bilge main, one hand pump will be required for each compartment.

3 Suitable hand or power pumps or siphons, portable or fixed, carried either on board the barge or on the towing vessel shall be provided.

(2) The pumps and source of power for operation on oceangoing sailing vessels and barges shall be located above the bulkhead deck or at the highest convenient level which is always accessible.

(3) Each hull of a vessel with more than one hull, such as a catamaran, must meet Table 56.50-55(b).

(c)Capacity of independent power bilge pump. Each power bilge pump must have the capacity to develop a suction velocity of not less than 400 feet per minute through the size of bilge main piping required by § 56.50-50(d)(1) of this part under ordinary conditions; except that, for vessels of less than 65 feet in length not engaged on international voyages, the pump must have a minimum capacity of 25 gallons per minute and need not meet the velocity requirement of this paragraph.

(d)Priming. Suitable means shall be provided for priming centrifugal pumps which are not of the self-priming type.


(1) For self-propelled vessels, if the engines and boilers are in two or more watertight compartments, the bilge pumps must be distributed throughout these compartments. On other self-propelled vessels and mobile offshore drilling units, the bilge pumps must be in separate compartments to the extent practicable. When the location of bilge pumps in separate watertight compartments is not practicable, alternative arrangements may be submitted for consideration by the Marine Safety Center.

(2) For nonself-propelled vessels requiring two bilge pumps, these pumps, insofar as practicable, shall be located in separate watertight machinery spaces. When the location of bilge pumps in separate watertight compartments is not possible, the Commandant will consider alternate arrangements of the bilge pumps.

(3) The emergency bilge pumps shall not be installed in a passenger ship forward of the collision bulkhead.

(4) Each hull of a vessel with more than one hull must have at least two means for pumping the bilges in each hull. No multi-hulled vessel may operate unless one of these means is available to pump each bilge.

(f)Other pumps. Sanitary, ballast, and general service pumps having the required capacity may be accepted as independent power bilge pumps if fitted with the necessary connections to the bilge pumping system.

[CGFR 68-82, 33 FR 18843, Dec. 18, 1968, as amended by CGD 79-023, 48 FR 51007, Nov. 4, 1983; CGD 77-140, 54 FR 40608, Oct. 2, 1989; 55 FR 39968, Oct. 1, 1990; CGD 83-043, 60 FR 24773, May 10, 1995; USCG-2004-18884, 69 FR 58346, Sept. 30, 2004]

This is a list of United States Code sections, Statutes at Large, Public Laws, and Presidential Documents, which provide rulemaking authority for this CFR Part.

This list is taken from the Parallel Table of Authorities and Rules provided by GPO [Government Printing Office].

It is not guaranteed to be accurate or up-to-date, though we do refresh the database weekly. More limitations on accuracy are described at the GPO site.

United States Code
Presidential Documents

Executive Order ... 12234

Executive Order ... 12777

Title 46 published on 2015-12-02

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 46 CFR Part 56 after this date.

  • 2016-07-22; vol. 81 # 141 - Friday, July 22, 2016
    1. 81 FR 48220 - Harmonization of Standards for Fire Protection, Detection, and Extinguishing Equipment
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      Final rule.
      This final rule is effective August 22, 2016. The incorporation by reference of certain publications listed in the rule is approved by the Director of the Federal Register on August 22, 2016.
      33 CFR Parts 140, 145, 148, and 149