Why do Sit-on-top Kayaks Have Holes?

Why do Sit-on-top Kayaks Have Holes?

Sit-on-top kayaks have scuppers or holes in them. Do you know why do Sit-on-top Kayaks have holes?

To answer this question, it is pertinent to understand that there are different types of kayaks.

Why do Sit-on-top Kayaks Have Holes?
Why do Sit-on-top Kayaks Have Holes?

Scupper plugs may or may not be needed depending on the type of kayak, in which you are paddling.

Scuppers have been used and date back to the time of some of the very first seafaring trade ships.

The reason for making scupper plugs was due to the need of having holes on the deck of the ship which would in turn drain water when large waves came over the sides of the ship.

Kayaks equally make use of this same principle. The only difference is the fact that the deck of a ship is not close to the water surface unlike that of the kayak.

Hence, scupper holes allow water into the cockpit of the kayak.

What is the point of scupper holes?


Kayaks that have scupper holes make use of scupper plugs. If the kayaks do not have scupper holes then there is no need for scupper plugs.

In sit-on-top kayaks, scupper holes are very important as they help are used as a safety feature.

The reason is while moving over large waves; it is very likely for water to enter into the kayak through the scupper holes.

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They are also recommended for kayakers that are new to kayaking.  Sit-on-top kayaks with self-bailing scupper holes may require plugs.

The purpose of these plugs will help the kayaker greatly reduce the amount of water, which may store up in the cockpit.

As the conditions change, these scupper plugs can then be removed or deployed easily.

What are Scupper Holes?

While it may seem almost ridiculous for a boat to even have holes, scupper holes are very important holes, which are designed on a kayak for the following reasons:


What are kayak scupper plugs used for?

As earlier mentioned, scupper plugs are a safety feature of sit-on-top kayaks and are used to plug up the scupper drain hole.

Scupper plugs can only fit scupper holes and they help to prevent water from coming into the kayak while moving over large waves.

When should you plug in Scupper holes?

The purpose of a scupper plug is to prevent the entry of water into the boat and also the exit of water out of the boat.

As such, kayakers can expect the kayak to sit higher on the water when they plug in the scupper holes.

They can help the kayaker to paddle faster when they are on their way to their fishing destination or even heading back home.

However, when they are unplugged, the kayak sits a bit lower on the water. This can be very beneficial during windy days as the wind will have fewer boats to catch and move around.

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How many Scupper holes should be plugged or unplugged?

On average, a kayak has about six to eight scupper holes which are located in different sections of the boat.

Keeping the rear holes plugged is crucial as that is where most of the weight of the kayak is carried. This gives the boat some kind of lift out of the water and keeps the area dry.

However, plugging the holes in the seating area may depend solely on one’s size and weight. You can plug them if you need an additional lift.

But if you are lightweight and need more depth in the water, you do not need to plug the scupper holes.

Why do Sit-on-top Kayaks Have Holes?
Why do Sit-on-top Kayaks Have Holes?

Are sit on top kayaks supposed to have holes?

The importance of scupper holes in sit-on-top kayaks cannot be overlooked.

In the hull of the kayak, scupper holes allow water that splashes inside the kayak or drips off the paddle to be removed or drained out rather than pooling in the floor of the kayak.

This keeps your sit-on-top kayak dry.  In essence, it is normal for sit-on-top kayaks to heave scupper holes.


How To Use Scupper Plugs?

Using scupper plugs is quite easy. All you need to do is plug them into the holes. However, you may leave one or two holes open in order to keep your kayak dry and have balance of drainage.

Alternatively, you can simply remove one only then get rid of excess water in your kayak using a sponge, scupper valves, or bilge pump.


Are Scupper plugs important on a kayak?

During warm weather, Scupper plugs are not necessary. This is because many kayakers like to get wet and cool off on the kayak as the temperature is a bit high.

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In colder weather conditions, scupper plugs may also be optional. However, the kayaker must endeavor to wear clothes that can keep him/her warm such as dry suits.

This can help to prevent hypothermia, and other illnesses caused by the cold.


What are Scupper Valves?

Scupper valves are one-way plugs that allow water in the sit-on-top kayak to be drained out through the scupper holes.

They also block the water from splashing up through the scupper holes as well.

Why are Scupper valves not used like Scupper plugs?

Scupper valves do the job of keeping water out of your kayak brilliantly. Regardless, everyone due to the following reasons does not use them:

  1. Expense:

Unlike scupper plugs, scupper valves are quite expensive.

  1. Inconvenience:

Many scupper valves tend to stick up above the deck where the plugs may have a better flush fit and this makes it easy to dislodge and damage.

  1. Availability:

Scupper valves are not available for all sit-on-top kayaks. An example of a good scupper valve is the Ocean kayak scupper valve.

The Ocean kayak scupper valves are medium size scupper valves that fit round-shaped holes.

  1. Maintenance:

Maintaining a scupper valve is not easy and it needs to be done frequently to prevent debris from accumulating around the valve.

If the valve is blocked due to debris, it may not be able to function properly.