- A boat scupper is meant to direct water off the deck of a boat.
- The Duck Bill from GEMLUX is a popular choice.
- T-H Marine's Flow-Max Ball Scupper is a great ball valve option.
- Most, if not all, boats need some form of scupper.
- Recessed scuppers and overflow scuppers are not the same things.
Explore our curated selection of top boat scuppers, and enhance your vessel's safety and comfort with these standout picks.
Our favorite scuppers are:
- Flow-Max Ball Scupper
- T-H Marine Flush Mount
- Attwood Stainless Steel Scupper Valve
- GEMLUX Duck Bill Valve and Assembly
- T-H Marine Large Rectangular Scuppers
With countless nautical miles logged, we've weathered many storms. Our team of seasoned boat enthusiasts has spent hours combing the selection out there in the market. We pride ourselves on sharing our extensive knowledge and insights with fellow boat people, helping you make informed decisions.
Types Of Boat Scuppers And What To Look For
Before we point you toward specific scuppers to buy, let's dive into the different types that exist and get ready to find the perfect match for your water-faring vessel:
- Ball/Flap Valve Boat: These contraptions utilize a built-in one-way valve (either a ball or flap, hence the name), ensuring water goes only one way—off your boat.
- Flush-Mount: Sleek and discreet, flush-mount scuppers blend seamlessly with your deck's surface. They're a go-to for boaters who prioritize style and functionality equally.
- Gutter: This variety of scuppers boasts a design that directs water along grooved paths to designated drainage points.
- Thru-Hull: Classic deck drains that run through your boat's hull. They're efficient and straightforward, making them a favorite among many boat owners.
- Transom: Transom scuppers run through the hull of the boat. They're perfect for smaller boats with outboard motors or swim platforms, providing a vital barrier against backflow.
Traits of the Best Boat Scuppers
A select few factors should guide your search for that ideal match for your boat. Here's what to look for in a top-notch choice:
- Material: Good choices are durable and corrosion-resistant materials, like marine-grade stainless steel, brass, or plastic. Remember, it needs to stand up to marine conditions.
- Size/Capacity: The right size is essential for efficient drainage. The dimensions of your boat's decks and the volume of water it may encounter dictate what size is appropriate. The best boat scuppers for you should be able to handle the worst-case scenario.
- Design: Choose a design that complements your boat's function. Flush-mount scuppers are great for sleek aesthetics, while ball or flap valve scuppers offer extra protection against backflow.
- Compatibility: Make sure your brand choice works well with your boat's existing drainage system or can be easily integrated into a new setup.
Our 5 Favorite Boat Scupper Valves
We've narrowed the field down to a few of our absolute favorites. Whether you're cruising, fishing, or just out for a spin around the bay, one of these scuppers will ensure you enjoy a water-free ride.
Flow-Max Ball Scupper
The Flow-Max Ball Scupper is an innovative solution for those looking to replace old or worn-out flapper scuppers on their ship.
With a design that allows for 70% more water drainage compared to similar models, it offers improved self-bailing efficiency in keeping your deck dry.
The multiple mounting spots simplify the retrofitting process, making it easy to install without the need for extensive modifications.
By simply twisting counterclockwise, the ball cavity can be removed for cleaning and then quickly reassembled. Additionally, the neutral buoyancy ball helps maintain a secure seal without floating up and breaking it.
Customer Review Highlights: Flow-Max Ball
- Exact fit for a 2002 Scout boat
- Holes lined up for easy installation
- Effective at preventing water from flowing into the transom during launch or anchoring
- Idiot-proof installation
- Convenient removal feature for easy clean-up
- Customer willing to spend more for higher-quality plastic
T-H Marine Flush Mount Assembly
This flush mount valve, the T-H Marine Flush Mount Assembly, is a top-tier choice for anyone seeking a reliable scupper valve.
Built with a flexible thermo-plastic flapper, it is impervious to the harsh effects of sunlight and chemicals commonly found in bodies of water.
The flapper should easily remain curl-free and rot-free and maintain its sealing ability over time.
This flush mount assembly can be installed over a drain tube or directly onto a 1 1/2" thru-hull with four screws, offering versatility in mounting options.
Compatible with 1" to 1-1/4" drain tubes, it also features a universal hole pattern, making it an excellent replacement for any defective flapper.
Customer Review Highlights: T-H Marine Flush Mount Assembly
- Improved performance compared to original boat equipment
- Website ordering process lacks clarity and user-friendliness
- Unclear product selection from drop-down menus and images
- Scuppers function as expected
- Notable improvement over old plastic scuppers on a Whaler boat
Attwood Stainless Steel 1.5 Inch Scupper Valve
The Attwood Stainless Steel 1.5 Inch Scupper Valve is here to make waves in the self-bailing cockpit world.
This shiny gem sports a tough rubber flapper, draining water like a champ and keeping backflow at bay. With silicone gaskets sealing the deal, you'll enjoy a watertight shipshape experience.
The barbed end ensures a snug and secure connection.
Attwood delivers top-notch, easy-to-install gear that keeps your boat compliant and cruising with confidence.
Customer Review Highlights: Attwood Stainless Steel 1.5 Inch Valve
- Great replacement for OEM plastic units on Yamaha boats
- Sturdy and thick stainless steel design
- Large flange for extra sealant area
- Integrated "nut" for easy assembly and disassembly
- Smaller flap sealing surface area, but functional
- Uncertainty about long-term durability
- Easy installation and better quality than replaced boat scuppers in Whaler
- Well-built and high-quality
- Slightly longer than necessary; could be 2 inches shorter
GEMLUX Duck Bill Valve and Assembly
The GEMLUX Duck Bill Scupper is a popular choice among boaters, known for its distinctive design and functionality.
Shaped like a duck's bill, this is designed to drain water efficiently off your deck while preventing backflow.
It's a favorite among the boating community due to its ease of installation, durability, and effectiveness in keeping the deck dry and safe.
Customer Review Highlights: GEMLUX Duck Bill Valve and Assembly
- Nicely designed product
- Well-received by customers
- GEMLUX products known for great quality
- Unique duck bill system
- Concerns about reduced diameter and potentially slower draining rates
- UV exposure protection
- Effective solution for water on deck issues
- Difficult to find in stock
T-H Marine Large Rectangular Scuppers
T-H Marine's Large Rectangular Scuppers offer a reliable solution for fast deck drainage, particularly on larger boats with decks above the waterline.
These boat scuppers are designed to fit a 2-inch by 5 1/2-inch opening, providing maximum drainage capabilities to keep your boat's deck clear of water.
The user-friendly design also allows for easy debris clearance, ensuring that your outlet remains unobstructed.
With the T-H Marine Large Rectangular Scuppers, you can enjoy a dry and safe deck, knowing that your boat is equipped with a top-quality drainage solution.
Customer Review Highlights: T-H Marine Large Rectangular Scuppers
- Suitable for designed installation locations, but may catch water if mounted on leaning hull sides
- Difficult to install on transoms; limited potential for that application
- Positive experience with large, rectangular boat scuppers on a 1975 Mako
- Some water ingress near the waterline when stern is weighted, but expected
- Overall satisfaction with purchase and willingness to buy from T-H Marine again
- One out of two scuppers experienced degradation and breakage within 3-6 months, requiring replacement
Do Boats Need Scuppers?
In most cases, yes, boats need scuppers.
You see, scuppers serve a vital purpose aboard a boat. They help drain excess water from the deck, keeping things dry and shipshape.
Whether it's from a sudden splash, a bit of rain, or the occasional rogue wave, water has a sneaky habit of finding its way on board.
And that's where boat scuppers come to the rescue, directing that unwanted water right back to where it belongs – the lake or sea!
Without scuppers, water would accumulate on the deck, making it slippery and unsafe for you and your guests.
Plus, nobody wants to slosh around in soggy shoes, right?
So, while technically not every boat requires boat scuppers (depending on its design and use), they're a real lifesaver on many a vessel, ensuring your seafaring adventures stay safe and enjoyable.
In short, scuppers are the tiny, unappreciated dynamos of the boating world, quietly keeping things afloat and making our maritime journeys all the more pleasant.
Why Is It Called a Scupper?
The word "scupper" can trace its roots back to Middle English, where it was known as "scoppe," meaning a hole or opening for water to flow through.
Pretty fitting, right?
Let's embark on a little linguistic adventure.
Now, if we go even further back in time, we'll find that "scupper" likely comes from the Old French words "escopir" or "escupir."
These terms mean "to spit out" or "to discharge," which is what a scupper does!
Picture it like this: a scupper is a handy little gadget on a boat that "spits out" water, keeping the deck nice and dry.
While the word may have evolved over the years, its meaning has remained true to its origin.
What Is The Difference Between Scupper And Overflow Scupper?
In a nutshell, while a regular scupper deals with draining water from the deck, keeping all water out, an overflow scupper is all about keeping contained water systems in check by managing excess water.
An overflow scupper is a specialized version that specifically deals with excess water in areas like live wells, bait tanks, or even swimming pools on larger vessels.
In these cases, water is meant to be contained, but sometimes the water level might rise a bit too high. That's where the overflow part comes in.
Overflow scuppers are designed to manage any surplus water that goes beyond a certain level.
They help maintain a proper balance in the contained water system, ensuring everything stays shipshape.
They're like cousins in the world of boat scuppers, each with their own important mission to accomplish.
Do You Need Scupper Plugs For A Kayak?
Yes, but only if your kayak has scupper holes, which not all do.
You see, many sit-on-top kayaks come with these holes, which are basically small openings that allow water to drain through and out of the kayak.
These are strategically placed in the kayak's design to help keep the seating area and footwells from getting too wet, as some water is bound to splash in during your adventure.
A scupper plug is a small, removable device that can be placed in each hole to block all the water from coming in.
These plugs can increase the buoyancy of your sit-on-top kayak by preventing water from entering.
This might make the kayak feel more stable and sit a little higher on the water, which could be beneficial for beginners or those who prefer a more stable ride.
Their necessity depends on your personal preference and the conditions you'll be kayaking in.
If you're paddling in calm, flat water and don't expect many waves or splashes, you might not need scupper plugs.
When Are Scupper Plugs Important?
If you're planning on venturing into rougher waters or expect to be in a situation where waves and water might enter your kayak more frequently, scupper plugs can be quite helpful.
They'll keep water from seeping in through, keeping you and your gear drier during your journey.
One thing to keep in mind, though: if you decide to use scupper plugs, make sure you have a small kayak bilge pump or sponge handy to remove any water that does make its way into the kayak. Since the holes will be plugged, the water won't be able to drain out naturally.
The bottom line is scupper plugs for your kayak can be a useful addition, but whether you need them or not depends on your specific kayaking conditions and personal preferences.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson