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A portable wet dry vac that can suck up screw drivers out of the bilge? It sounds like you may possibly have found the Ultimate “Amel Vacuum”! Bill R. has pointed out many times on the board the value of having a wet dry vac on the boat and after getting a big clunky 220V unit that we can unfortunately only run dockside I am convinced that he is on target. I had no idea that the portable battery powered units had reached the level of suction that you are reporting. How nice it would be to have a wet dry that did not rely on dockside or genset power so was available for use anytime. Thanks Arno for taking the time to post your cleaning solution, I am going to see about getting one of these vacuums to replace the big 220V unit we are now carrying. Hopefully they are available in Greece…
I would also like to add that while regular bilge cleaning is less critical on my Maramu with the overboard galley sink drain it is still IMO really important to keep the bilge clear of any foreign objects that can clog a pump in an emergency. With the depth of the bilge in my Maramu a wet dry vac is probably the only way to really pick up those potential pump cloggers.
I am always amazed at how much one can learn from the amazing group of people on the Amel board. Thanks to all that contribute and Happy Holidays!
James and Joann
Most of us really like our Amels. We like the clever way it has been thought out and such. However some choices have their drawbacks.
My least favorite parts to clean on our 54 are the Grey water bilge and the raw water strainer.
Having tried a few ways to perform the tasks I think I have found a fairly good way to do it now that I would like to share for those that are still trying to make the task easier.
It involves a Milwaukee M18 battery operated wet/dry portable vacuum cleaner and a small (Kärcher) high pressure cleaner. The latter is one of the smallest you can buy and is also excellent in removing the salt of the deck and things after a (rough) sail)
I connect the HP cleaner to the water outlet at the helm seat.
To clean the water strainer I close the sea-cock (turn off Fridges and A/C first), open the lid of the strainer and BEFORE removing the strainer-insert I first use the shop-vac to suck out the the water and crud. Next I remove the insert and use the shop vac to suck out as much as possible water and crud as I can. Next clean the insert (it can be separated into two halves to make it easier). Put the strainer back together and Bob is your Uncle. This way you prevent the crud from entering the outlet pipe when you remove the insert.
For the grey water bilge use your manual bilge pump first to get a much as possible water out. Next use the pressure washer to do a first clean of the bilge. This can be very smelly! Remove the water with the manual bilge pump. Again use the pressure washer to stir things up in the bilge. Now use the shop vac with a piece of hose attached to suck the water and crud out of the bilge. Keep the end of the hose just at the waterline so the shop-vac sucks a water-air mixture. When empty use the pressure washer again to clean the bottom of the bilge and the Shop-vac to suck out the water/crud mixture. Do not forget to empty the shop-vac regularly as it fills up quite fast!
Repeat the process until the bilge is clean.
The fist time I did this it was almost a treasure hunt. I retrieved screws, bolts, nuts and even a screwdriver from the abyss. It also enables you to inspect the grounding strap and keel bolt that sits at the bottom.
Hopefully the story above is to someones help.