By Ben Coxworth
September 10, 2021
Among other items, serious canoeists are advised to carry an extra paddle (in case they lose one) and a bilge pump (in case their boat gets swamped). The Paddle Pump is designed to make things simpler, by combining both tools in one device.
Reportedly tipping the scales at 1.4 lb (635 g), the Paddle Pump features a telescoping aluminum shaft that can be extended from 36 up to 60 inches (914 to 1,524 mm), a tee-type handle, and an injection-molded plastic "beaver tail" blade.
Using the device as a paddle is pretty straightforward. To use it as a pump, you just loosen off the collar on the shaft, stick the bottom end of the blade in the water that needs to be removed, then use the handle to move the upper section of the shaft up and down. Doing so draws water into the shaft on the upstroke, then ejects it out one end of the handle on the downstroke.
"The inspiration was actually born from seaplanes," says John Hartz, who co-created the Paddle Pump along with its main inventor, Dan Dufault. "Seaplane floats are typically made of riveted aluminum and over time will leak, so part of the pre-flight is to pump out each float compartment. Paddles are also necessary equipment, because you can't motor all the way into the dock and there is no reverse. So this idea was an easy blend of both of those needs."