One of the most critical components of a boat is the drain plug. A drain plug is always positioned on the stern beneath the waterline center to the keel. Depending on the boat manufacturer, the style of plug varies. Some varieties include a threaded screw in style, while others are a rubber-lined plug that closes off the opening. Here are 5 things to know about a boat drain plug. 

Does A Boat Need A Drain Plug

Yes, without question, a boat requires a drain plug. However, drain plugs are removed when the boat is hauled out of the water. The purpose of pulling the plug is to drain all water sitting in the vessel’s bilge. 

Additionally, the drain plug keeps water out of the boat while it sits in the water. Failing to replace the plug allows the inundation of water, causing the boat to become unstable and sink. 

Recently, I was on a friend’s boat when he failed to install the plug. Water rushed into the bilge, but fortunately, the error was noticed before it was too late. My friend quickly set the plug in place so the boat did not continue to take on water. 

How Tight Should A Boat Drain Plug Be

The snugness of a drain plug is highly dependent on the type of plug. Without question, a rubber lined plug must be snugly placed to prevent water intrusion. In some cases, you have the option to increase or decrease the size of the plug by twisting a knob left to loosen or right to tighten. The goal is to prevent water from entering the bilge. 

Conversely, a threaded drain plug must not be over tightened. Often, threaded plugs are made from copper, a soft metal. To be honest, a threaded plug should be hand-tightened. Anything beyond tightening by hand puts you at risk of damaging the housing mounted on the boat’s transom. Trust me, I have run boats well offshore with a hand-tightened plug and have had no signs of water intrusion. 

No matter what, it is always best to glance in the bilge occasionally. Also, keep a spare drain plug on hand if something goes awry. 

Why You Should Remove The Drain Plug If You’re Boat Is Sinking

Look, I’ll admit, it sounds counterintuitive to remove your boat’s plug in the event the boat is already sinking. 

However, removing the plug if you’re boat is taking on water is a good option, depending on the situation. 

No question about it: if your boat is sinking, one option, as odd as it sounds, is to pull the drain plug. 

Once the plug is removed, put the boat on plane. The combination of the bow angle and speed will draw the water from within the bilge to the outside of the boat. Monitor the water levels by glancing into the bilge and reinstalling the boat drain plug once the water has been removed. 

Don’t Lose Track Of Your Drain Plug

After each trip on my boat, I would remove the drain plug and leave it out. I left the plug out because it would allow for continuous drainage when stored on the trailer compared to making the bilge pump run. 

Importantly, you need to store the drain plug where you will remember its location. I always placed my boat drain plug in the storage compartment near the console. Repetition is key. After pulling the plug on a boat, always store it in the same location so you can find it before heading on the water for the next adventure. 

A lost plug will delay your day. Avoid stopping at a boat supply warehouse for a replacement drain plug. 

Avoid Leaving The Drain Plug In While Storing Your Boat

Not all that often do we have night-time freezing temperatures in coastal Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina. However, when the time comes, it is important to ensure that the drain plug has already been removed. 

A drain plug that has been left in place during freezing weather is unlikely to cause cracking but is best avoided. 

I suggest draining the bilge completely when storing a boat to avoid any potential long-term issues. One of the issues includes the growth of mold and mildew from the compartment remaining wet. Once growth accumulates, a bilge cleaning product will be necessary.

A Boats Drain Plug Is An Important Factor To Boating

Without a double, if you’re a boater, you will need to check the placement of the plug before each trip. There is no sense in determining the plug is missing once you have left the dock. Follow these five steps to ensure that you remember what to do when it comes to issues with a drain plug.