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What Are Kayak Scupper Plugs & Why Use Them?

Scupper holes aren’t the most talked about kayak accessories and are generally not considered essential by most people. But if you have a sit-on-top kayak, you should consider taking a look at scupper plugs.

This is because scupper plugs help drain water out of the yak and prevent you from sitting in a puddle. Also, your yak is more prone to capsizing if it gets filled with water. Since sit-on-top kayaks are more likely to get filled with water as you paddle and enjoy yourself on the water, having a scupper plug on your yak will help improve your safety and convenience.

Overall, scupper plugs are simple accessories that have a basic design. However, differences in the materials used as well as the manufacturers mean all scupper plugs aren’t equal.

Below you’ll find a buying guide to help you choose the best scupper plug for your yak. I’ll be talking more in detail about the benefits of scupper plugs and why you should consider getting them. Here we go.

What Are Scupper Plugs Used For?

By now, you should know that scupper plugs are used to cover scupper holes, which are the self-bailing holes you’ll find in the hulls of sit-on-top kayaks (SOTs). By covering the scupper holes of SOTs, your sitting area will be drier as water will be prevented from entering through the holes.

As you paddle your SOT, a small amount of water will get into the vessel. Now, a little water in a sit-on-top kayak is an advantage, especially on hot days as such water will help cool down. And this is why you don’t necessarily have to use scupper plugs all the time even if you have them.

Of course, you aren’t always going to be keen on sitting on a puddle of water when paddling and this is where scupper plugs come in as they’ll significantly reduce the amount of water getting into the kayak.

Are Scupper Plugs Important?

There’s a reason why scupper holes are put on kayaks. And that’s to prevent water in the cockpit from building up to levels that can capsize the vessel. Now, most of the water in the cockpit will be from paddling, especially when you are excited and are paddling fast. And scupper holes will act as a safety mechanism and help prevent water from accumulating in your yak.

A little amount of water will also get into the yak through the scupper holes. But usually, the amount is insignificant and doesn’t pose any threat other than making your bottoms wet. But if you are paddling over large waves, more water will be able to get into your yak through the scupper holes and this is where scupper plugs will come in handy.

By blocking the holes, especially on waters with large waves, you are preventing water from getting into the vessel through the holes and accumulating to levels that can capsize the kayak.

Also, scupper plugs will come in handy when you are paddling in cold conditions or on cold waters. In any of these situations, you wouldn’t want cold water to get into the sitting area and your best bet in this scenario is to use a scupper plug.

Disadvantages of Scupper Plugs

Using scupper plugs on your kayak means you are blocking your kayak’s ability to drain water which has advantages in certain situations as I discussed above.

You are blocking the scupper holes to prevent water from getting into the vessel through the holes. But the holes are not the only way water can get into the vessel as fast paddling can also put water into your yak. And since you’ve blocked the holes, water won’t be able to get out.

This is why it can be a good practice to have kayak sponges and bilge pumps on board. This way, you’ll be able to absorb or pump out any excess water without the need to completely remove the scupper plugs.

Final Thoughts

Scupper plugs are an often overlooked but important accessory for your kayak. They offer lots of advantages, but also some disadvantages. Hopefully, by now, you should have a better understanding of how it all works, and what plugs to get for your kayak.

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