How Do Scupper Holes Work In A Kayak? Benefits – 2022

Most kayaks have scupper holes and if you’re a kayaker, you should know what they are and how they work. Scupper holes allow water that accumulates on the deck of the kayak to drain out, so you stay dry while you paddle.

In this article, we’ll explain exactly what scupper holes are and how they work in your kayak. And, we’ll give you some tips on how to keep them functioning properly.

How Do Scupper Holes Work In A Kayak?

The simples answer to the question of how does scupper holes work in a kayak is that a scupper hole is strategically placed in your kayak’s deck. You can find them wherever water collects holes in the cockpit, bow, stern, and center of the deck. The bottom of each scupper hole is angled to allow water to drain out efficiently.

Why Are There Scupper Holes In A Kayak?

Scupper holes are an important safety feature for kayakers, especially in serious whitewater adventures. They allow water that collects in your kayak to drain out quickly and efficiently. This prevents a dangerous build-up of standing water on the deck of your kayak.

It is highly dangerous to have water on the deck of your kayak while you are out paddling on a river or high waves in the ocean. If you’re not expecting to face large bodies of water, it’s probably best to think about getting scupper plugs for your boat. You can buy them at most kayak accessory stores.

When And Why Would You Use Them?

Scupper plugs are best to use when you’re planning on traveling short distances with calm waters. They give your kayak a sleek and water-resistant outer coating, so you won’t need scupper holes for drainage purposes.

It’s important to know how scupper holes work in a kayak and how to keep them functioning properly. In addition to buying scupper plugs, you should also check your scuppers regularly if you use your kayak in serious whitewater, ocean waters with waves, or lakes and rivers with heavy boat traffic.

In those situations, it’s best to have a spare set of plugs on hand and take out the ones that you have been using. This will ensure that your kayak is not prone to any serious damage due to getting clogged scupper holes and having too much water in the cockpit of your boat.

What Are The Benefits Of Using Scupper Holes?

Scupper holes are important kayak safety features that allow water to drain out of your craft quickly and efficiently. If you use serious whitewater, ocean waters with waves, or lakes and rivers with heavy boat traffic, it is best to purchase scupper plugs for your kayak. This will keep the openings clear and give you a dry ride.

1 . It’s A Time-Saver

If you’re new to kayaking, you might think that these drain holes are just an extra thing that your kayak has, and you could easily do without them. After all, if there is too much water in your kayak, you could just bail it out, right?

Well, that’s true. You could do that. But then again, if there’s too much water in the cockpit of your kayak, you’ll end up with a completely wet and soggy bottom (not ideal) because all of your stuff will get drenched as well (like the extra paddle you’ve packed).

2. You Get Less Cold

If you do a lot of kayaking in cold waters, then this is especially true for you. In the wintertime when your fingers are numbed from the freezing water, draining out that excess water may just be what saves your hands from frostbite and makes kayaking that much more enjoyable.

3. You Stay Safer

Draining out that excess water will help you stay afloat, especially if you’re in rough waters or rapids. If your kayak is filled with too much water, it can lead to capsizing and hypothermia not a good combination at all. But don’t let the fear of capsizing put you off from kayaking in bad weather. Just make sure that you carry those safety gears and know how to use them, like a life jacket with an extra flotation device and quick-release mechanism.

4. You Get To Paddle Faster

If you want to go faster, then your kayak needs to be lighter.

5. You Can Get To Your Destination Faster

Another thing you can do is to switch from a sit-in kayak to a sit-on-top kayak. If you choose a SOT kayak, you’ll not only drain out water better but also dry off faster after taking it out of the water.


In the end, I hope you have gained some knowledge about how scupper holes work in a kayak. You can use either scupper plugs or just drain the water with your hand if you are kayaking in calm waters for short distances.

Now you are able to answer the question of how do scupper holes work in a kayak?


Q1. Where can you purchase scupper plugs?

You can buy them online or in kayak stores. There are a lot of brands that you can choose from depending on your preference.

Q2. How do you know which size of plugs to buy?

If you kayak in calm waters, then choose the small size. If you are planning to use it for rough waters or rapids, go with large size.

Q3. What types of materials should you use for the scupper plugs?

The best thing to use is rubber, as it will keep the holes from damaging your kayak. You can also choose from a variety of other materials such as cork, foam, and even inflatable plugs.

Q4. Do you leave scupper plugs in a kayak?

The general rule of thumb is to remove your scupper plugs before heading out on the water. This allows any water that gets into your kayak to drain out, preventing you from sitting in a puddle of water for the duration of your paddle.

Q5. Should my kayak have holes in the bottom?

No, your kayak should not have holes in the bottom. While some kayaks do have drain plugs in the bottom, these are meant to be used when the kayak is out of the water and being stored upside down. Any holes in the bottom of the kayak will allow water to enter while you are paddling, which can be dangerous.

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