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What Are Scupper Plugs?

Mark Armstrong
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If you have a sit-on-top kayak you’ll probably find that there are scupper holes in various places on your deck, often in the cockpit area and the rear tank well. And you may know that these holes are designed to let water in and out.

But have you thought about scupper plugs? These can essentially help close these holes.

So to give you a better idea of why you might need them we’ve put together this short guide.

What Are Scupper Plugs? - Pinterest ImagePin

What Are Scupper Plugs Used For?

Scupper plugs are designed to fit into the scupper holes in your sit-on-top yak. While the scupper holes are designed to allow water to drain from the deck, the scupper plugs can be used to prevent water from coming onto the deck from below.

Whitewater KayakingPin

With sit-on-top kayaks, you may find that water will come into your vessel either from paddle splashes or waves and possibly from the scupper holes. If you are paddling in choppy conditions, water can splash up through the scupper holes and into your deck area, meaning you might get wet.

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The holes are designed to let any water easily drain back out without you needing to manually bail your vessel. However, sometimes you might find that you’d rather not have water coming in from below. This is when scupper plugs can come in handy.

By plugging the holes with the scupper plugs, you might have a drier ride as the water shouldn’t be able to enter as easily from below. On the other hand, any water that does enter your cockpit or storage deck, while the holes are plugged, won’t be able to drain out by itself.

Video: Using Scuppers On Your Kayak

You might find scupper plugs useful if you don’t like having too much water in your vessel, particularly around your seat or feet area. If it’s a hot summer day and you’re just out for a bit of recreational paddling, you may not mind getting wet.

You also might find that the less weight there is in your yak, the less water should come in through the scupper holes. The closer your load weight is to the maximum load capacity of your yak, the more likely it is that water might come in without scupper plugs.

How Do I Get Rid Of All This Water?!

If you’ve plugged your scupper holes, you might want to think about having a bilge pump or sponge on board. This can help you get rid of any water that might come onto your deck or into your cockpit.

Similarly, if you don’t have scupper plugs (we’re talking sit-inside kayaks here), again….a good bilge pump and sponge can be useful tools to have with you if you want to get rid of excess water – especially if you’ve flipped. The bilge pump can help get rid of most of the water while the sponge can help you get rid of the smaller amounts.

Video: Manual Bilge Pump


Now you know what scupper plugs are you should be able to decide if they might be useful for your next paddling trip. Keep in mind that your sit-on-top yak has an open deck that is designed to be self-bailing. But scupper plugs can help stop some of the water from coming into your vessel from underneath.

However, remember that the weight in your yak and the conditions that you’re paddling in may affect how much water might come in through the scupper holes, so you may not always need to use scupper plugs.

If you’ve found this helpful, share it with your friends and if you have any experience or advice to share, leave us a comment.

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6 thoughts on “What Are Scupper Plugs?”

  1. Great summary explanation!
    I’ve only used sea kayaks up to now but recently bought a fishing kayak that has several plugs- now I have a good sense of how to use them.

  2. A guy Louis surentine left his paddle boat at my place when he picked it up he said why did you drill holes in my boat, I tried to explain scupper holes to him he took his boat and told everyone i drilled holes in his boat.i have to show everyone that brings it up about scupper holes they just say, Louis is an idiot.thanks for the information.


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