Why Does My Sit On Kayak Have Holes? Reasons and Use – 2022

As kayakers, we know that our vessels need to be lightweight and nimble so that they can move quickly and easily through the water. While this is often a priority when designing the boat, it can sometimes come at the cost of other features, such as seat comfort.If you’re like many kayakers, you may have noticed why does my sit on kayak have holes in it?

The simple answer is that a-holes on sit on kayaks are designed to be ventilation holes. They allow water to drain from the bottom of the kayak as you’re paddling, which prevents a buildup of water as your kayak moves through the waves and across the surface of the water.

 In this post, we’ll explain the purpose of the holes and tell you a bit about how to use them. Keep reading to learn more!  

Why Does My Sit On Kayak Have Holes?

There are actually two main reasons why sit on kayaks have holes in the bottom.

For Drainage: 

These holes allow water to drain from the bottom of the kayak as you paddle. As you’re paddling and moving through the waves and across the surface of the water, this water drains back into the lake or ocean, instead of building up inside your kayak. This not only prevents a buildup of humidity and mold inside the boat, but it also reduces drag as you’re paddling. 

For Ventilation:

As you sit on your kayak and paddle, moisture builds up between your skin and the surface of the seat- whether or not you can see it. These ventilation holes allow that moisture to escape so that it doesn’t become uncomfortable or make your skin very cold, which can lead to chafing or discomfort.

However, if you notice that there are holes towards the bow- aka front of the kayak- that may be for adjustment straps. If they’re on the side of the kayak, it’s likely for drainage purposes. 

What Are The Different Sit On Kayak Hole Patterns?

You may notice that there are a variety of different hole patterns on your sit on kayak. This is because manufacturers have found that not all people paddle in the exact same way, and therefore need to customize their boats for maximum comfort. 

The main hole types you’ll see include: 

Standard Holes:

This is the most common type of hole that you’ll see, and there are generally around 8-12 holes in total. These holes are evenly spaced throughout the kayak where it’s easiest for water to drain out.

J Bars:

These ventilation holes run along the entire seat, from bow to stern, like the letter J. These are common on sit on kayaks with any sort of hard shell, rather than inflatable options.

Drain Holes:

These holes don’t serve as ventilation or drainage- they’re purely for adjustment purposes. If you notice that your kayak has these types of holes towards the bow, it may be used for the paddle rest (see below).

Drain and Vent:

These holes merge drainage and ventilation functions into one, with a hole pattern similar to standard holes with an extra set of holes in the front bottom corner. This is common on sit on kayaks that have inflatable seats or backrests, such as the Ocean Kayak brand.

How To Use The Holes On My Sit On Kayak? 

Once you know the function of the holes on your kayak, it’s time to learn how to use them.

Drain Your Sit On Kayak:

When you’re done kayaking and want to dry off your boat before storage, don’t forget to drain all of the water from your sit on a kayak before packing it  away. 

Ventilate Your Kayak:

If you notice that your sit on kayak is growing moldy or humid, it may be time to drain it and give the interior a good ventilation session. This will not only prevent any rash, but also make your boat last longer!

Adjust The Straps On Your Sit On Kayak: 

If you notice that the holes on your kayak are towards the bow, it may be time to adjust your paddle rest. This can be done simply by inserting a screwdriver or other tool through the hole and adjusting the strap until it fits well.

Use The Holes For Storage:

If you notice that your kayak doesn’t have many holes on the bottom, this can also be used to your advantage. You can use these slits to tie down your boat for storage, allowing you to attach it securely without needing additional tools or gear.


Now that you know why does my sit on kayak has holes in it? you’re well on your way to maximizing your kayaking experience.

Keep these points in mind as you’re out exploring the water, and remember to keep yourself comfortable and dry!


What should I do if my kayak has a lot of holes? 

If your kayak has many different types of holes, it may be due to the fact that you are 6 feet tall or 6’6″. Sit on kayaks are not made for people over 6’5″, so you may need a different type of boat. You can go with an inflatable sit on top kayak set or a hardshell with a seat that comes up higher.

What should I do if my kayak isn’t draining? 

If your sit on kayak is not draining, there may be something blocking the holes in the bottom of the boat. Check underneath and around the holes to see if there’s anything such as grass clippings or leaves.

What should I do if there are no holes on my sit on kayak? 

If there are no holes, that is a sign that the boat was made for a small person or a child. You will need to use a pump to inflate your seat and it’s not going to be as easy as finding a plug to drain your kayak. You can try a sit on top kayak with no holes or consider another type of boat like inflatable or hardshell.

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