What Are Scupper Plugs? (And When Should You Use It?)

what are scupper plugs

What are scupper plugs? Do they have an important use in your kayak?

You see, most of the sit-on-top kayaks out there have these things called scupper holes. Specifically, they are studded in different parts of the deck of the boat. But most of the time, they are present in the rear tank and the cockpit. Of course, essentially, these holes are being placed so that water can be expelled anytime.


If you are an amateur boater, you would not pay that much attention to these holes. After all, if they are included in the overall design of the boat, you would immediately think that they are necessary.

But if that's the case, what's the purpose of these scupper plugs? By their nature, these components are designed to close or shut these holes. Are they needed in your boat?

Well, I want to share some insights regarding this matter. I will let you understand the purpose of scupper holes and the perfect situations where you should use them. Let's get started.

Just like I mentioned earlier, scupper holes are present on most sit-on-top kayaks. They are there to ensure that the water that breaches in the boat will be siphoned out from top to bottom. This feature is extremely crucial to ensure that you are not sitting on the puddle.

If not for these holes, there's a good chance that your boat will be flooded. At that time, there's a good chance that you will be capsized. Of course, surviving a flipped boat is a different skill set that you need to learn as well.

Scupper plugs, on the other hand, are made to specifically fit on these scupper holes. The function of these scupper plugs is to ensure that water will not come in. Typically, the latter happens in areas where the water is choppy. In some cases, water could come if there is enough load to sink the hull of the kayak deep enough. The water can automatically pervade the cockpit of your boat. At this point, it is already important that you know the overall capacity of your kayak.

It is quite a difficult thing if the water comes from below. Draining it is indeed a difficult task, especially if the flow is continuous. These are the very moments where there's a need for you to have scupper plugs.

Once you have inserted those scupper plugs, your kayak will be a lot drier than it used to be. However, take into account that any water that comes inside the cockpit will not be drained automatically if these scupper plugs are present.

When Should You Use Scupper Plugs?

When Should You Use Scupper Plugs?

In my experience, the best opportunity where you can use a scupper plug to your kayak is all the time. I don't want excessive water in my boat. Most of the time, my feet don't like to feet wet or drenched, especially if the weather is cold. It just chills me out. On summer days, I can somehow tolerate the situation. But I always keep in mind that the cockpit of my kayak is not a bath. Therefore, I make sure that it is dry all the time.

Scupper plugs should be used if you are bringing a lot of load in the kayak or if you are kayaking with two or more people. Just like I said earlier, the heavier the kayak, the more it sinks. And when that happens, the scupper holes of your kayak will be submerged into the water. That alone can cause unwanted water entry.

To prevent this from happening, it is crucial that you have scupper plugs with you. If you are planning to go on a kayaking trip with your friends and families, you should secure these plugs to their designated scupper holes.

Should You Worry If There's Water On Your Kayak?

Many people have already asked me this question. Some kayakers have this experience where the kayak is still watered even if the scupper plugs are installed already. They always freak out whenever this situation happens. However, let me tell you that there's nothing here that you should worry.

You see, the water that is coming from the plug is just minimal. Therefore, it will never cause your boat to sink. You should just ignore this and just focus on the adventure. If you want, you can search for some of the best scupper plugs out there. If they can guarantee a 100% stoppage of water, then you might want to give them a try.

However, the water is coming from waves and splashes of your water can become a threat, especially if they have accumulated long enough. Also, make sure that you can inspect the structure of your boat before you let it thrust in the water. You don't want to be caught off guard by any holes while you are kayaking. They are hazards that you can always avoid!

How to Remove Excessive Water?

Let us say that you don't want to remove the scupper plugs to drain the water out of your kayak. If this is your intention, you need to use a bilge pump and sponge instead. They are the ones that can help you take out the water from the cockpit of your boat.

In fact, I do recommend that you carry them in each of your water trips. They provide convenience and safety on your part. If you deem that the water in your boat is too much, just use these amenities to eliminate the intruder.

If you don’t want to be exposed to too much water, why not try wearing a drysuit or a wetsuit? They can make your kayaking adventure much more convenient.


Whether you like it or not, water will always be a normal factor whenever you are kayaking or canoeing. They are a part of the adventure already. If you can organize your boat properly, water entry will be minimized. Of course, the use of these scupper plugs will be helpful in this situation. They can prevent any water breaches, especially if your sit-on-top kayak is overloaded.

Once your boat is fully secured, the need for you to bail water from time to time will be reduced. Waterproofing your boat is also a preventive measure that can help you escape from accidents.

That's it for now. If you have questions or suggestions, drop them in the comment section.

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