All You Need To Know About Scupper Plugs

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.

Before we move on to discuss the scupper plugs in detail, let’s take a quick look on the scupper holes.

Scupper holes will commonly be located in the footwells, seatwells and tankwells or front, center and rear of the kayak.  Not all kayaks will have supper holes in all these locations so be sure to look around the kayak to find them all. 

The custom plug kits available in the market include all of the plugs needed for your kayak.  Individual plugs can also be bought so you can build your own drain plug kits or purchase only the ones you need.

To give you a better idea of why you might need the scupper plugs, we’ve put together this short guide.

scupper plugs

What are Scupper Plugs used for? 

Scupper holes, usually found in sit-on-top kayaks, are designed as a safety feature to drain water out of the kayak, from top to bottom, which keeps you from sitting in a puddle or even worse, making your kayak a bathtub full of water prone to capsizing. 

The intent of scupper plugs, designed to fit in these holes, is to keep water from coming in, which 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.

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.

Should I use Scupper Plugs?

This is solely dependant on your preferences. If you don’t mind sitting in a bit of water, you should leave them out. But for most people kayaking in winters, Scupper plugs are a must so that you can have warm and dry kayaking experience, enjoying the tranquility under the sun.

You could also have the best of both worlds. Since on a sit-on-top kayak, your feet are resting on the body of the kayak itself, it might be a good idea to plug the holes near your feet. However, for drainage purposes, you can leave the rear holes open so that the excess water can conveniently wash off.

We recommend not having them fixed in for good, and keeping them close by so that you have them if you need to use them.

Which Scupper Plug should I choose? 

Most kayak scupper plugs will be round in design and tapered as they go down.  This allows the plug to be pushed tightly into the scupper hole to seal it. The less taper a plug has, the better it will seal the hole.  This is because a slighter taper puts more plug surface area in contact with the scupper hole wall.   

Some scupper plugs you find for sale are “universal” or “one-size-fits-all”.  These plugs tend to taper a lot and often seal poorly because they have less plug surface area in contact with the scupper hole wall. Since kayak manufactures use various sizes of scupper holes, you need to carefully select the plug which specifically fits that hole size correctly and tightly.  


Scupper Plug Removal

When the scupper plug is installed but no longer needed, the pull rope on our plugs allows for easy removal.  This is handy when you only want to drain excess water out of the kayak and then re-plug it.

Scupper Plug Usage 

Scupper plugs are not always needed but they are typically something you will want to have available when the time comes.  Some customers put them in and never remove them while others prefer to use them seasonally or as needed.

Weather-dependant Usage

During the winter months we recommend using kayak scupper plugs to keep the boat drier and you as well.  Sitting in a puddle of water during the summer may be refreshing but during the winter it can be downright miserable. 

Additional Support

Scupper plugs can also provide some additional buoyancy when installed.  By plugging the scupper holes you are forcing the water out from under the kayak and around the sides.  This is helpful when the weight of the kayak is heavier than normal such as when extra gear or a heavier paddler is onboard.

How to make sure your scupper plug works fine?

If you need to test your supper plugs and holes for leaks, the best way to do this is by filling the boat with water whilst on-land, perhaps in the garden, and looking around the outside and underneath of the vessel in and around those scupper holes for any signs of leaking.

This is the best way to identify faults and/or damage and will save you a TON of time.

What if water builds up and I have plugged in the Scupper Plugs?

If water builds up on your kayak, and all the holes are filled, your kayak will become heavy and at risk of capsizing. For these situations, you need to carry two very important things, a kayak sponge, and a bilge pump, much like a sit-in kayak.

Our Final Verdict 

So we’ve established that scupper plugs play an important part in letting water in/out of your kayak in order to aid buoyancy and keep you above water!

You can leave them either plugged in, or you can take them out. It all depends on how wet you’re comfortable getting and the laden-weight of your kayak. It’s your choice!

Michael Holding

Michael is an outdoor adventurer and a kayaking enthusiast who loves to share his experiences with others. He is the Chief Editor at XgearHub.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: