Why Do Kayaks Have Scupper Holes? Shocking Truth!

If you ever had a chance to enjoy paddling in a kayak, we are pretty confident that you must have noticed those tiny hones. Well, these small holes are known as Scupper holes. It is one of the most popular and widely used safety features found in kayaks.

You must be wondering why do kayaks have scupper holes? The primary purpose of scupper holes is to ensure proper draining of the water to avoid any unfortunate incident. To cover up these small holes, scupper plugs are inserted in these scupper holes to prevent the water from entering the kayak.

However, there is no need to worry about these scupper holes, as many beginners often fear that these holes might cause the kayak to sink. Luckily, these holes will not cause any inconvenient situation because they are designed for your additional safety.

Before we proceed further, let’s discuss some of the most common questions that often arise in the mind of beginners who have just started Kayaking.

What is the Purpose of Scupper Holes in a Kayak?

As we have also discussed above, the primary purpose of these scupper holes is appropriate water drainage, but there are still some things that need to be understood first to support this concept.

It’s almost impossible to prevent the water while paddling through harsh waves. The increased water weight in the kayak may cause it to sink or become unbalanced, which is a scary situation.

Moreover, the excessive quantity of water collecting slowly in the kayak will also make it harder for you to increase its speed. As a result of extra weight, you may put more effort and energy to complete your kayaking trip, which will become annoying for you instead of enjoyment.

You can open these scupper holes whenever you feel that the kayak is becoming a bit heavier, and then again close them with scupper plugs once the water is successfully drained completely.

Are Kayaks Supposed to Have Holes in the Bottom?

Yes, Scupper holes are the most crucial safety feature in kayaks that cannot be ignored at any cost. Every sit-on-top model comes with this brilliant feature to ensure the utmost safety of kayakers while kayaking through harsh waves of water.

However, there is no need to look for scupper holes in sit-inside kayak models as they already have a waterproof design. These holes are very important to keep the water away from the bottom of a kayak; otherwise, the sinking risk becomes higher. Remember,

Are Scupper Holes Risky?

We have seen many people wondering why do kayaks have holes well; the manufacturers are not dumb enough to put the lives of kayakers at risk due to any unwanted or risky feature.

Scupper holes provide more benefits than drawbacks as they are only meant for removing excess water from the kayak, which cannot be ignored. However, Suppose you are experiencing high water levels in your kayak despite having the scupper holes.

You must pay attention to some other factors which might be causing excessive water in your kayaks, such as bad weather conditions or a sudden increase in the wind while paddling a kayak. Even though it happens rarely, but there are still chances of facing this issue.

You should avoid Kayaking in bad weather conditions, especially if you are a beginner. You should always remember to use the scupper plugs only in extreme conditions that involve high-speed water waves or bad weather conditions. For routine paddling under normal circumstances, you should avoid scupper plugs as they may annoy you.

Alternates of Scupper Holes

If you feel that scupper holes are not working effectively to drain the water out from your kayak, there is no need to feel disappointed. There are some highly effective and cheapest alternate ways to get rid of the water in your kayak.

Remember, scupper holes will still perform a major role in water drainage. These methods will provide additional support in the process, especially if you want to paddle in bad weather conditions.

Bilge Pump

A bilge pump is an excellent and most convenient method for draining water in your kayak. Bilge pumps are compact and can fit anywhere in the interior without any storage-related issues.

However, you can also consider using an electric pump, especially if manual pumping is not comfortable. In this modern era of technology, you can easily find a reliable electric bilge pump for under 30 or 40$.

You can also search for it on Amazon or any other online platform. You need to make sure that it’s portable and lightweight because there is minimal space in a kayak.


It may sound weird to you first, but if you look into the practical way, it’s far better than installing a bilge pump. A sponge is a remarkable water-absorbent that can easily absorb an excessive amount of water trapped inside your kayak in a matter of a few seconds.

You have to keep it inside your kayak, and it will automatically start absorbing the water slowly while you will be enjoying Kayaking.


We hope our detailed article on why do kayaks have scupper holes has given you complete information. Scupper holes have been used in kayaks for decades due to their crucial function. Kayaking is a trendy sport and fun activity that involves infinite enjoyment and suspense; however, it also involves risks, especially if you do not follow the recommended safety precautions.

If you have just started kayaking, we will advise you first learn it under any expert supervision. If you have recently bought a kayak and you have any question in your mind regarding its scupper holes, don’t hesitate to comment below. If you feel that this article was helpful for you, then don’t forget to share it with your friends on social media who are also kayaking enthusiasts.

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