The Truth About Scupper Plugs

I’ve always had customers ask me about scupper plugs, more specifically, they are not sure if they need them and in some cases wonder if  they may be a necessity because they were told so by someone else. Scupper holes are found in sit-on-top kayaks are are designed as a safety feature to drain water out of the kayak, from top to bottom, keeping you from sitting in a puddle or worse making your kayak a bathtub full of water that could then be prone to capsize. Scupper plugs are designed to stop up these scupper holes which stops this water from draining out. The real intent of scupper plugs is to keep water from coming in through the scupper holes. This can happen in choppy water or when there is significant enough weight in the kayak to push the hull deep enough in the water to force water into the cockpit. Now don’t be alarmed, this doesn’t mean your boat is going to sink. It is perfectly normal for some water to enter your kayak via the scuppers. However, if you have water that is consistently in your kayak, it can become somewhat bothersome. If you don’t experience this problem of water coming up through the holes, then you don’t need scupper plugs.

Of course if you are using a kayak, regardless of the brand, capacity and use of scupper plugs, water will enter the cockpit one way or another. This can be from spray, paddle splash, waves or by entering and exiting your kayak. If you are using scupper plugs in these instances you will need to empty this water out of the cockpit. If you prefer not to remove the scupper plugs to drain the water, simply use a sponge or if there is a significant amount of water use a bilge pump. Accumulating too much water in your cockpit or deck area can affect the performance and possibly safety of your kayak. Besides, it’s never a bad idea to carry one or both of those products with you for safety and convenience purposes.

So the truth is, no matter how hard you try, water will always find its way into your boat. Dealing with it is really just a matter of personal preference. Most people don’t enjoy sitting in a pool of water while others don’t mind getting a little wet, especially when it is hot outside. If you do have a little water entering your cockpit and want the convenience of the automatic draining, consider only plugging the scuppers closest to or around your seat area and leave the ones by your feet open.

Dave Graves
Assistant Manager
ACK – San Marcos