Why Do Boats Have Drain Plugs?

Video why do boats have plugs

Why Do Boats Have Drain Plugs?

It is easy to automatically assume that having a hole in the hull is not a good thing anytime you consider a boat.

This is a logical assumption since many boats with holes sink. Luckily, this is not always the case.

Drain plugs helps in the draining of the boat and to protect water from getting in. Additionally, the drain is useful in enabling the boaters to get rid of water from the ocean once they are out of water.

Without a drain plug, a boat can take in water until it capsizes.

It is not possible to ensure that your boat stays free from water. Water will always get into the boat one way or the other.

As soon as the ship gets into a water body, water might get in the boat, and this is the essence of having drain plugs anyway.

Indeed, you also need a drain pump to ensure that you can get that water out anytime you want.

Therefore, since there needs to be a way that you can get rid of that water, a drain hole comes in handy.

Indeed, some jurisdictions require you to open the drain plug before you leave the water body. This is done to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Why Do Boats Have Drain Plugs?

As you enjoy your boat, ensure that you are conversant with the laws of your state, as different states will have various laws.

Do Some Boats Spit Out Water?

Yes. Indeed, all modern boats can be seen as spitting out water. This is a necessary activity for the boat to ensure the bilge stays free from water. It is normal for water to build up over time.

Consequently, the bilge in a complementary manner with the bilge pump will pump water that builds up automatically.

Therefore, anytime you see a boat spitting water, it simply pumps out the excess water built up in the bilge.

The bilge sits below the waterline. The bilge is when both sides of the boat meet at the keel as the lowest compartment in the boat.

When water collects in the bilge, it is normally smelly due to contaminants in the water.

When the boat is in the water, the bilge collects all the water that cannot drain from the side of the ship.

Water might also enter the bilge via a thru-hull. Once water collects in the bilge, it is critical to have it drained out.

It is not hard for the bilge to have so much water that it might occasion a vessel’s capsizing.

Consequently, this water must be dealt with properly. It is also critical to understand that bilge water is not ordinary water.

This is because it will contain oils, solvents, detergents, chemicals, and other materials or contaminants. Since bilge water has several components, it is essential to monitor it well.

In addition to having a drain hole, boats have a bile pump as well. This is handy in pumping the bilge water out of the vessel.

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This is an automatically orchestrated action, but the bilge must get to a specified level for the pump to perform this function.

With these pumps, the user is saved from using unorthodox means of removing the water like buckets.

However, it is critical to note that a bilge pump can be overwhelmed if you have a major water invasion in your boat.

If the water is collecting too rapidly, it is impractical to expect the bilge pump to pump it out and fail to be overworked effectively.

Therefore, if you leak your boat, it is best to avoid reliance on the bilge pump and instead seek ways to seal the leaks.

Can I Drain My Boat Using A Drain Plug?

Yes. It is easy to drain your boat if it has water that is sitting in the basement. Allowing that water to stay there is not advisable. After you draw the water, however, you will need to install the drain plug.

There are many boating checklists that you must have come across in your boating experience.

The top on the list is normally “Install drain plug.” This shows how important this small thing is.

It is like you are being told, “we can’t trust you to remind yourself of this important part of boating.”

I had forgotten to return the drain plug, only to realize when I got out of water. Thank God I didn’t take long in the water.

It is important to take the drain plug out. Some boats do not have the self-bailing trait- astonishingly, there are many of these- and if it rains, your boat may fill with water in your driveway.

Why Do Pontoon Boats Sink?

In Minnesota, a boat draining law was passed in 2010. The law was meant to control the spread of fish diseases.

For instance, zebra mussel larvae and spiny water fleas cannot be observed easily are not easily detectable or observed detectable in water.

Therefore, it would not be hard to transport these species from one place to the other.

The law states that anyone leaving the state-owned waters people must drain all water equipment, including boats.

As long as equipment holds any quantity of water, it is required in Minnesota law to have the vessel drained.

Again, the law requires that drain plugs, valves, bailers, or other devices be opened or removed when transporting such water-related equipment.

Is It Easy To Drain Your Boat Drain Plugs?

Yes. It is not hard to drain your drain plugs. For instance, consider the Bronze drain with NPT threads, which are garboard drain fitting that should be tightened using a wrench from creating a watertight seal.

If you desire to change your drain plug, it is essential to use modern drain plugs that fit tightly than the conventional ones.

When considering using a drain plug, it is essential to consider several things, and one of these things is the hole diameter.

Garboard drains are meant to transom that might have a diameter that ranges from ¾ to 1½ inches.

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However, recreational boats today are normally fitted with a 1-inch diameter hole. However, it is essential to ensure that it matches the hole well when choosing a garboard drain fitting.

Additionally, there should be enough surface left so that the hole can still accommodate the flange’s size without necessarily having to hang below the transform.

There are several types of garboard drains that have tubes meant for extending inside a transom hole. Unless the extension goes beyond the transform’s inner wall, the extension is irrelevant.

Indeed, this extension can hinder bilge drainage as water can collect along the transform wall before the drain opening. Therefore, it is advisable to avoid too long tubes.

When it comes to materials, garboard drains can be made of bronze, plastic, or stainless steel. Because of their location below the water, you might not want to use a plastic one.

On the other hand, bronze has been tested over the years, and it is an excellent option that resists corrosion. It is said to be ideal when it comes to underwater applications.

However, stainless steel is still a better option if you love the esthetic side of life. It might be ideal to go for a steel garboard if you use a trailer for your boat.

Why Do Boats Have Drain Plugs?

Additionally, it is also ideal for aluminum boats, but there needs to be a separation of the stainless steel from the aluminum.

All in all, it is critical to remember stainless steel is more vulnerable to corrosion in underwater applications.

Is There Anything That Would Help Me To Remember In Relation To Drain Plugs?

Yes. Several drain plug tips might come in handy and save your life while on water. It is normal for many people to forget to reinstall a drain plug. I have done this, and it is scary.

Interestingly, regardless of the danger it attracts, people will continue to forget to put these things back into their positions.

But things do not have to be this way. You can ensure that you will not forget to place the drain plug in its place after draining your boat.

Well, buying extra drain plugs is a great way to ensure that you will never run short of the darn drain plug.

Since it is easy to misplace your drain plug after removing it, it pays to have several extras of these cheap essentials to make a prompt replacement.

If you leave it at home and realize when you are about to launch your boat, you can get one from the trailer and forget the trouble of postponing your sea luxury.

Ideally, you can buy many drain plugs and then keep them in different strategic locations.

Indeed, you can have some in your car, in your boat, and your garage.

Another way to steer away from trouble is to ensure that your drain plug remains attached to the drain. You can achieve this by attaching the plug using some form of the tether.

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As long as your drain plug is tethered, it is not easy to lose it. However, this will not remind you to reinstall it.

However, if you use it alongside a checklist, it is a useful way that might help you remember to reinstall it.

There are ways of helping you remember to reinstall a drain plug. For instance, the PlugDock can help you, but you will need to use it according to its design.

This tool is handy in providing a storage place where you can keep your drain plug when your boat is not in water.

In addition to this, it enhances the storage of your safety lanyard that you use for your boat’s kill switch.

Remember that you won’t be able to start your boat if you don’t have the lanyard.

Consequently, this is a safety precaution since you won’t start the boat without first reinstalling the drain plug and the safety lanyard.

Lastly, you will find that creating a launch list goes a long way in ensuring that you never forget your drain plug.

Indeed, making a pre-launch checklist is a practical yet effective way of ensuring that you never get your boat in the water without reinstalling the drain plug.

You will only need to go through your checklist with such a list and see if everything has been done. With the checklist, the only way you can ever fail to reinstall your drain plug is if it is not on the list.

But you do not want to leave out such an important part of your safety to chance. You can go a step further by laminating the list.

In your worthy list, it is critical to include all the checks related to your engines, like the battery, oil status, and fuel.

Additionally, this list can be used for showing water patrol officers, proving that you have taken notice of and follow all regulations as required in law.

The first thing on your list should be reinstalling the drain plug.


The essence of drain plugs in a boat cannot be overemphasized. There are many security concerns related to the drain plug.

Although used for sealing the drain hole after raining water, this small thing can be a matter of life and death.

A hole in a boat cannot be avoided since there needs to be a way of getting out water from the boat’s basement.

Once the water is drained, it is critical to seal the hole, and you will use a drain plug for this worthy task.

The importance of this task can be gleaned from the emphasis that regulations place on ensuring your drain plug is reinstalled before launching your boat.

Consequently, you do not want to launch a boat without reinstalling a drain plug.

It is therefore vital to make use of a checklist to ensure that you are conscious of the reinstallation of the plug,

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>