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Looking at buying a boat that I've fished from a number of times. Only issue I have is that when a couple people are in the stern, water enters the boat through the scupper holes. I've never owned one of these "self bailing" boats. Don't know why the guy that owned it didn't just put plugs in those holes at least in the cold weather.
Just curious to know if anyone knows of any issues related to plugging the holes with temporary plugs.

Thanks for any input you may have.
 

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Ideally you should not plug them, their whole purpose is to drain water from the deck. Why make a boat that is designed to be self bailing, not self bailing? Does not make sense from a safety standpoint. If it rains hard or you take water in from waves, you want it to drain out of the boat and not necessarily into the bilge. My boat has flapper style scuppers and have rarely had water come into the boat from them, but have heard of many who have the deck low enough that water does come in when weight distribution is toward the stern or one side.

Assuming you have drains with plumbing to external scupper flapper valves, may want to look and see if you already have check valves in the plumbing from the drains, they could have some junk in them that prevents them from closing properly.

Also, Google Rabuds, it is a type of external scupper valve that use a ball to work as a check valve that is more water tight than a flapper. Lots have used them successfully.
 

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There isn't a whole lot you can do if the scuppers are installed on the water line. It took a genius to do that and I think the same genius works for multiple boat manufacturers.

An option I have taken on a few boats.
Install a sump well at the stern like some of the Carolina skiffs.
Permanently fill the existing scuppers and re install scuppers an inch- 1-1/4" higher.
An inch of water on the deck aint gonna sink you. Scuppers get rid of everything over the scuppers and a small bilge pump in the sump well gets rid of everything below the scuppers.

Having said that, the ONLY boat I care to own is a self bailing boat. It's the safest option out there. These designers just need to actually care about what they doing in regards to scuppers. A scupper can't do it's job if it's blocked off.
 

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Red X Angler
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My Seapro SV2100 would take on a little water thru the scuppers if my rear live well was full of water and anyone was sitting/fishing in the back. I plugged them from the inside when it "mattered" to keep feet dry.
 

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My Nautic Star always has water on the floor. Part of a self bailing cockpit. I always have a lot of water coming in. With bait tanks and nets and wash down. I would never plug them.
 

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Red X Angler
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and when I say plug I do mean with something easy to extract. I can pop them out when I need to drain it, not blocked off permanently.
 

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Scuppers should be above the waterline not on the waterline.
Reason being is there is a thing called PPI and CB. Pounds per inch immersion. In a boat PPI is how many pounds it takes to lower the boat 1" into the water. You seldom see a PPI listed in the specifications for a manufactured boat. It could be calculated though.
It's common to see PPI's listed in builder specs in boat plans though.

The height a scupper should be is 9" above the water line on a 20-22 foot boat which also means the top of the sole should be 9" above the waterline at the stern. Things like the CB (center of buoyancy) also factor into it as well. Having two adults 6 or 7 feet aft of the CB and a raised motor is going to squat her down in the stern. Hence the 9 inches. Some boats could get by with less.

Then consider water weighs 60 pounds a cubic foot. You take a wave over the side while anchored or drifting. Lets say it tosses 5 cubic feet of water in the boat. That is 300 pounds of additional weight. Your scuppers from the factory are already dangerously close to the waterline and a very high probability of being undersized. Then lets say the PPI on the hull is 200. Every 200 pounds sinks it one inch lower in the water. Now the captain moves 8 feet aft of the CB to diddle with his poorly engineered scuppers adding a coupla more hundred pounds at the transom in the mix. Now the scuppers are under water and have bascially gone neutral and maybe even reversed.....and you should see by now where I'm going with this. The stern is getting lower and lower in the water and the next 5 cubic feet over the side could tip the scales into a dire situation. Even a deadly situation in the right conditions.

If you have a self bailing boat and always have water on the floor... It's by poor design. It's not supposed to be that way.

There is a coupla of options from "quick fix" to major construction.
Something that kinda falls in the middle between the two would be to do what sailboats do. Sailboats heel over in the water. So what many sailboat builders do is cross drain the deck. Water flowing from the starboard side cockpit drains out of the port side. Water flowing from the port side cockpit drains out the port side. That would eliminate some of it.
A real simple option would be 1-2 high capacity bilge pumps on the deck. Not the 30 dollar ones, we want to live not die. Something in the 3000+ GPH range. Don't forget the battery capacity to run them.

One of the many reasons I have little to no faith in the vast majority of manufactured boats. They simply don't care enough or have enough passion in what they do to care. As long as it looks sharp as a tack sitting in the showroom and causes people to reach for the wallet....it's good enough. It's just one of the reasons that lead me down the path of building boats. I am the quality control. I can build better than I can buy. Anybody on this forum could. I cringe at what people are paying for some of these boats.
 

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No doubt about it, scuppers SHOULD be above the waterline. Unfortunately that's not always the case. In my boat (Intruder built on Harkers Island, not a mass produced boat) they are above the waterline, however if there's a lot of weight put onto one side of the boat or the other (my scuppers are on the sides not out the stern) water comes in. To prevent this from happening I plug them with a 1 1/4 inch plug from the inside of the boat. If water comes in I remove the plug and run it out. There's nothing unsafe about it, it is just a nuisance.

The scupper issue has since been fixed and is not an issue on the newer boats being built.
 

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There is some passion at Intruder.
The reason these boat companies go in and out of business like the wind and the same molds just have their name changed each time they get sold is because they have stood on their name as long as they could. We get the same boats, the same engineering with a different name.
When you stop and think a lot of people spend as much and maybe even more for a boat than they do a car but the boat is far less scrutinized for quality than the car. It's an industry ripe for the picking on the consumer side.
 

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my 2001 atlantic skiff has them a little low i use a drain plug from the inside where i can reach them if it rains hard i pull the plugs if it gets too much or if i take a wave over the bow which in 8 years has yet to happen where i fill up definetly not a deal breaker in my mind ;) love my skiff and would never get rid of it,
 
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One thing nobody has mentioned - on a used boat, if there's foam below decks, the scuppers MAY have been higher above the waterline when it was new than it is now.
 

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Flotation foam doesn't make a boat float higher in the water. In fact it would make it sit lower in the water compared to just using sealed air compartments....Because the foam weighs more than air (pick up 2- 1 gallon cans of flotation foam). A cubic foot of air and a cubic foot of foam will both float about the same amount of weight, but one has a considerable amount of weight compared to the other. The foam.

If the foam degrades to the point it water logs....It's going to sit even lower.

Next time you go to a boat show, pay attention to the scuppers from boat to boat. You'll see 2 things. They are too low and too small in diameter on most of them.
The sit on top yak I'm building has 4- 2" diameter scuppers. The whole idea is to get water out of the boat fast, not at the speed of trickling garden hose. It has become one of those selling point features that is easily sold to the consumer who probably has read more Car and Driver magazines, than boat building publications.......so the salesman says, "ehhh, it's just little water on the floor, they all do that. That's just part of having scuppers."
The consumer not knowing any better goes right along with it.
 

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Flotation foam doesn't make a boat float higher in the water. In fact it would make it sit lower in the water compared to just using sealed air compartments....Because the foam weighs more than air (pick up 2- 1 gallon cans of flotation foam). A cubic foot of air and a cubic foot of foam will both float about the same amount of weight, but one has a considerable amount of weight compared to the other. The foam.

If the foam degrades to the point it water logs....It's going to sit even lower.
My point exactly! A used boat may weight considerably more than it did new. (Whalers come to mind, and CS is famous for it)
 

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The difference in the weight of a motor should not make a difference in whether a scupper works right or not. That's the whole point. The scuppers are not being located where they should be.
Granted, alot of it can easily be attributed to trying to make a little boat a big boat syndrome, but still, A much better job could be done than is.

Of course a little water on the sole would never bother me either until I got in a situation that I really needed them to work as they were supposed to.
The whole idea of scuppers is for safety. If they aren't working like they are supposed to, then you aint got a thing but 2 holes in the back of the boat.
You have to realize, on many of these self bailing boats there isn't a bilge. So that means you are piling water on a deck which is at a much higher CG than a bilge is. Creating an excellent condition for turtling.

There is alot more to a scupper than meets the eye. The idea is to shed water from a cockpit quickly not to create a duck pond in the aft end of a vessel. You never know, when where, or if you'll need it, but it wouldn't take a whole lot to need it. I speak from experience in that department.
 
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