How to Professionally Get Water Out of a Sit on Top Kayak

Working in a summer resort is hard enough without people asking me, “how to get water out of a sit-on-top kayak?” every few seconds. I am joking. But, since kayaking is the new trend right now everyone should know how to stay dry and warm in them.

It’s easy to get water out of a sit-on-top kayak, just plugging your scupper holes will drain water from the deck. If you want a smarter way then use a bilge pump. To keep yourself warm in sit-on-top kayak water-resistant clothes will make kayaking sheltered.

If they want to be wet because of the heat, knowing how to get water out will also help them in getting water in.

However, do not jump into a kayak after reading this. It is a dangerous sport. Beginners require training. Most of the time, the perceived threat is not the real one. Now, let us move on to more enjoyable topics.

Getting water out of different types of kayaks at a glance

Kayak typesWater out techniques
how to get water out of a pelican kayakPelican kayak has a drain plug, remove the plug when it needs. Remember to plug in after draining water. If it’s hard to remove then use a plier.
how to get water out of a sit-in kayakTip the kayak over to allow draining water.
how to get water out of a sit on top kayakRemove drain plugs or use a bilge pump. Sometimes sponge can be used to soak up water.
how to get water out of an inflatable kayakFirstly, remove the seats & bags then flip over to deflate and drained water. Use a towel or sponge to soak up the remaining water from the floor.
how to get water out of sun dolphin kayakPlug the scupper holes with a foam sealer if it causes the water to get in or take a sponge to bail the water out easily.

Sit on Top Kayaks and Its Parts

Sit on top kayaks are not traditional but they are getting popular nowadays. They are called SOT because saying “sit on top” is a mouthful. It is basically a kayak that has everything on the deck.

To know how to get water out of a sit-on-top kayak, you have to know what a kayak is.  There are also types of kayaks. Plus, knowing the difference between SOT kayaks and SIS (Sit inside) kayaks will help you perfect the act of drying your water vehicle.

A sit-on-top kayak is composed of many parts. These names can seem weird to an amateur. But, understanding the meanings behind the names will help you remember them.

The anatomy of this type of kayak is given below:

  1. A common and main part of any kayak or ship is the hull. The bottom of a boat is called thus. A sit-on-top kayak’s hull is wider than others so it rocks less on water.
  2. The top of a boat is called the deck. Our kayak will have its seat on the deck and not on the hull. So, we are completely exposed to nature.
  3. It is however a good thing in case the boat capsizes. Boat capsizing means flipping over. You can easily climb back on board in this case.
  4. There is a place to rest your foot or position it comfortably. It is called a foot brace.
  5. There are holes to drain out the water. These are called scupper holes.
  6. The fold along the length of a hull is called the keel.
  7. While you are not enclosed by the hull, there is a separate compartment built into your kayaks for gears. It is called a hatch. Since I don’t have experience with other boats I don’t know if they have a hatch.
  8. To pull the kayak in the land, there is a handle. It is called the carry handle. Kayaks are relatively light and can be pushed around by an adult person.
  9. There are straps to tie your gear down on the deck. These are called deck straps.
  10. Kayaks have fixed rudders which are called skegs. This helps to stabilize the kayak and change its direction.
  11. You will get a long stick with an oval shape at both ends. This is called a paddle and is used to move the kayak.

These are all the big parts of a sit-on-top kayak. While collecting information about SOT kayaks is great and will help you, I think the practical experience will help you more. There is nothing that can quickly make you learn the ins and outs of kayaking.

Comparing Sit on Top Kayaks with Sit inside Ones

People mainly use two types of kayaks: sit on top (or SOT) and sit inside (or SIS). SOT has an area for sitting but that area is on deck. Kayakers sit on top of an air-tight hull.

It makes SOT kayaks more portable. You can move around freely. It makes climbing up from water or going into the water more convenient.

You can’t climb an SIS kayak while floating. But, water will also build up more quickly than in an SIS kayak.

There are four to six scupper holes in a SOT kayak. These holes allow water to drain from your seat to the water body. Everyone sits in the open here and these help people to not get wet.

Do not worry that they will topple more quickly than a sit-in kayak. These are stable. They are also more preferable to people who do not like to feel caged in.

People new to kayaking feel more comfortable rowing in them. They think they have greater control over them than in a sit-inside kayak. This is not true.

However, illusions like these can build confidence which turns into skills as the amount of practicing grows. SOT kayaks are popular with fishermen.

They are wider than other types of kayaks. And there is an open cockpit to store stuff in. It is user-friendly too.

People who don’t regularly go kayaking prefer SOT because it doesn’t cut through the water turbulence quickly and lets you be more in control.

Keeping Your Sit on Top Kayak Dry

Knowing how to keep your kayak dry is the same thing as knowing how to get the water out. This knowledge is the difference between catching hypothermia and kayaking in comfort. So, we should not neglect this part of our education.

The natural way to dry any kayak is to use the sun. If it is a sunny day and you are not in a hurry to dive into the water again with your kayak then keep your kayak under the sun to dry. 

If you are in a hurry then check the 3 methods to dry instantly 

1. Plugging Holes Method and Bucket Method

If you do not want to take a quick dip into the water, there are several ways you can keep your seating area waterless. The first one is plugging your scupper holes. Scupper holes drain the total amounts of water from your deck, but in rapid water, they also let water from below into your boat.

There are plugs in the market specifically for scupper holes. You can plug them and it will keep your seat from being wet. However, in a sit-on-top kayak, water can easily collect because of waves and other natural occurrences.

This water won’t be able to drain out because you’re plugging the holes. Thus, there are pros and cons of this method. There is also the traditional bucket method.

But, this is ineffective because it can never get all of the water out and it is inconvenient. You can use smaller equipment in an emergency though.

I keep a large coffee mug when I go kayaking.  Most of the time I drink coffee out of it and once in a while, I use it to drain the small sudden pond from my seat. It is a quick and handy solution.

2. Clothing

An important precaution to keeping yourself warm and toasty is wearing the right clothes. Specific clothes are worn in specific circumstances. Water sport is the same in this case.

Though people have a personal choice kayaking requires different types of clothes. These have to be water-resistant and stretchy. It should snugly fit your body but not so much that it restricts movement.

The clothes should be able to layer up. You can buy them at aisles dedicating to boating or kayaking or water sports. Make sure to always wear a waterproof jacket and thick socks.

The thicker the socks the drier your feet will be. This is important to remember since it is our feet that usually get wet the quickest. A jacket that covers the torso will be invaluable for your survival in case you get stranded.

There will also protect you from the environment. Always keep drysuits to remain yourself dry in cold water. Now, the only item of clothing that you should never forget is your life jacket. Check your lifejacket before any outing.

It can mean the difference between life and death in case of sudden weather change. Even experienced swimmers are advised to wear them.

kayaking with life jacket

3. Pumping and Squeezing Water Out

There are other ways to keep warm while kayaking. A smart way is to have a bilge pump. It is a mechanical device that bears resemblance to a syringe.

When water clogs up the area, simply put the tapered anteater-like front part into the water and pull the end toward you. This is collect water in the bilge pump’s tube.

To get the water out, move the pump so that the front is above the water body and not the boat. Then shorten the end length. It will release the water from the pump.

Do this as many times as it takes to dry the deck. Wearing the right clothes and having a pump will keep you mostly dry. You can also have a sponge in your gear.

Sponges can be used to clean your kayak and equipment. But, it can also be used to squeeze the water from your boat.

What is Scupper Holes & Scupper Plugs

Scupper is made to connect holes in the sit-on-top kayak. Scupper holes are really good to drain water. Since the scupper is above the water then how does the water get inside?

It may occur for overweight in rough water, and water gets inside using these scupper holes. Scupper plug is specially designed to use with scupper holes to easily plugged in and out.

What do you do when water gets into the hull?

 Find out the holes or crack in the hull as well as the gap between the hatch and rim. If you find any holes or big gaps then seal with foam. Change the rubber of the rear drain plugs to ensure the hull keeps dry. 

Avoid water getting into a sit-in kayak

The sit-in kayak has no leak then you can avoid water getting in by fitting a spray skirt but after using the spray skirt correctly excess water is still getting then check the storage hatch. A damaged hatch sometimes makes this awkward problem. 


If you are someone whose hobby is kayaking or an occasional enthusiast, then sit on top kayak is the best one for you. It is easy to learn how to move it.

If you also know how to get water out of a sit-on-top kayak, then you are all set. Kayaking is an enjoyable hobby that many people enjoy. It is getting popular day by day as kayaks are becoming available.

Fishermen use them to catch fish and kayaking has a foothold in the tourism industry in coastal areas or areas with large water bodies. So, all of us should have at least an idea of how to get water out from kayaks.