Water, water everywhere.
Not to be embarrassed if you’ve not heretofore encountered scupper holes and their plugs. Scuppers have a very specialized use, and they’re to be found in almost all sit-on-top kayaks.
Scuppers are a safety feature, designed to drain water out of the yak from top to bottom. Good usages here, two of them: first, scuppers will keep your bottom – yours not the boat’s — dry and, secondly, they’ll keep you less prone to capsizing when you’re approaching or, shudder the Hughes Brothers’ collective thought, exceeding your boat’s weight limit.
Not all your scuppers. Not all the time.
You’ll likely find scupper holes in the cockpit, the foot wells, and the tank well of your yak. They’ll be self-bailing, meaning that any water coming over the deck of the kayak will automatically drain out. Scupper plugs then follow along to, as the name suggests, to plug the holes. As a result you’re dry, and drier still.
Varied opinions about scupper plugs.
Some seasoned paddlers choose to twist in their scupper plugs only when the boat is sufficiently loaded that water is standing in the foot well. The placement of your gear will have more to say about when to use the plugs.
Other yakkers use the cockpit plugs “every time my butt gets wet.”
Both schools of thought agree that, on a blistering Texas afternoon in August, a little water in the boat is not bad. Not bad at all.
Below, say, seventy degrees though, you’ll enjoy paddling far more if you and your boat are dry.
Remember your friends, the sponge and the bilge pump.
If you choose not to use your scupper plugs for drainage, turn back to those old tools of the trade, the sponge and the bilge pump. As a matter of fact, whether scupper plugs obtain or not, always good to have both of these tools along on an afternoon’s ride. For purposes of both safety and convenience. And a damp sponge is just the ideal means of removing the slime from your catch of the day: even the best of lippers encounters some bass goo from time to time.
Use the sponge. Use the pump. Dry is good.