Scupper Holes and Plugs make no sense to me -- yet!

Still deciding what boat to get, canoe, kayak etcetera. The differences are becoming clearer. Still simply learning about differences in construction, uses, optimal situations (a complex question).

One thing I don’t understand after several YouTube videos and articles is scupper holes and plugs found in Sit-On Kayaks.

I don’t get how scupper holes in your boat drain water away from the boat. And why, if they drain water from the boat, you have to plug them to prevent water from coming into the boat!

All videos seem to assume you understand the basic functionality of the scupper holes.

Can anyone explain this between belly laughs?

A scupper hole drains any water that washes onto the SOT from waves,etc. Your SOT has a water line and the water that is in the scupper hole will be at the same level as the water line.
If you are a heavy weight causing your yak to sit low in the water, no water from splashes will drain out and water will come in through the holes. Then you would probably want to plug the holes/loose weight/ carry a bilge pump or buy a SOT made for your weight

Unlike those “elite” SINKs they won’t collect water if left out in the rain overnight and work much better when used as a yard planter.

Sit on tops ride on top of the water. Because most of the boat is above the water, a scupper hole can drain the area you sit in (which is a little recessed) allowing for a slightly dryer ride. The water is it draining is water from splashes and drips. If it wasn;t draining, it would slowly fill the area you sit in.

A scupper pug is meant to seal the holes to prevent some water from coming up the holes. IMHO, this doesn’t really work. I’ve never bothered.

Swell Kayaks, a relatively new brand from Tim Nemier (the inventor of the sit on top) uses one way valves for scupper plugs, in theory allowing the best of both worlds. When you are moving, the valves are supposed to open and drain, but are sealed when you are not moving.

If you have the correct boat for your weight, it will drain. Good SOT have an elevated seat area and a scupper under the seat so you don’t have to sit in a puddle.

A wet seat in summer can be a good thing.

You need to get off the internet and in a boat. Go rent something it is the REAL yak season in Florida.

@Overstreet said:
A wet seat in summer can be a good thing.

You need to get off the internet and in a boat. Go rent something it is the REAL yak season in Florida.

Diaper rash

My first kayak was a SOT and I liked to paddle it over to Pennekamp for breakfast. Seat was wet and I found myself sitting in “pond scum”.
I filled the scuppers with Marine-Tex, and installed brass hose ends with removable caps in two of them so I could open them up if needed…
Problem solved…

There are several outfitters in Florida that carry SINKs and SOTs that you can try.
I live in SC and only paddle SOT and have paddled several places in Tennessee with them. I paddle with people who mostly sit inside.
I agree with Overstreet. Now is the perfect time for paddling in Florida.

I need to get a SOT.

Shiraz, check out the Epic V7 surf ski. A fast, stable SOT at a decent price.

My boat was always wet and this winter I strategically placed a couple of scupper plugs and now I’m dry. I guess the downside is if I take on water I will have to pull the plugs but until then I’m dry and happy. Perception Pescador Pro 12 foot

I have Scupper plugs in my center console bay boat. I put them in when BIG waves or rain is expected.

Sit on Top kayaks are very popular with people who live in warm climates or temperate climates and paddle out through breaking waves. I don’t use my sit on tops much any more, but when I was learning they were great boats to rapidly self rescue, tipping the boat over almost all of the water drains from the scupper holes. When paddling out in waves that are breaking much higher than the sides of the kayak the wave washes over and almost all of the water in the boat washes out. SOTs are not dry rides in heavy waves and surf, you need to wear a wetsuit or drysuit in cold water conditions. Surfing SOTs you sit low in the water and your butt will be wet all the time. Fishing SOTs sit higher and unless you have problems your butt will stay dry, unless a breaking wave goes over the bow or sides. Best thing to do is to go try some boats in the waters you will be paddling.

ww sots (do-it-now,fusion, torrent) have particularly large drain holes. Normal fishing and rec SOTs drain way to slow for ww. My duckies have drain holes as well. I’ve never really considered plugging them, I guess the splash factor would have to be zero for me to plug. I think there is a lot to like about sots, especially for beginners or occasional users like rental users. There is a comparable ease to self rescue (no roll needed) but I do encourage folks to practice climbing back on. With the higher center of gravity, the wet exit seems to take care of itself.

@string said:
Shiraz, check out the Epic V7 surf ski. A fast, stable SOT at a decent price.

String, most of the time I’m paddling in these narrow creeks so a boat about 4’ shorter is what I need.

SOT that length tend to be wide slugs . The Eddyline Carribean might work for you.

My sot fishing kayak is a 12 ft kayak. When I’m in it fishing water shoots in. No particular problem…except when fishing a Cajun Thunder popping cork rig. You see to move to another spot I put the rig in. The shrimp swims around…and usually down a Scupper. So there 18" down the pipe the shrimp is dangling caught by the cork at the Scupper. They don’t come up the Scupper as easy as down . Fortunately never caught anything at that time. THAT would be a reason for the plugs.

If big waves crash into your boat and fill your cockpit with water it is no fun. The holes (or venturis in surfskis) allow that water to drain without the need to get out and invert your boat or bail it out. Those who paddle on flat water with little risk of water filling the cockpit from the top sometimes plug or tape the holes to stay dry. Two totally different sets of conditions.

@Overstreet said:
…except when fishing a Cajun Thunder popping cork rig. … shrimp swims around…and usually down a Scupper. … down the pipe … the shrimp dangling … caught by the cork …

I am thoroughly confused. I think I need a video.