Posted by: Andy Whitcomb
September 18, 2012

Andy Whitcomb


Have you ever backed a boat down a ramp and into the lake, only to discover the boat plug was missing and then try nonchalantly to pull it back up to drain? According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s (NMMA) Recreational Boating Statistical Abstract, in 2011 “there were 12.4 million registered boats in the U.S.”  That is a lot of boat plugs to remember.

With all of the life jackets, fishing tackle, and gear for a boat outing, this small piece of equipment can be taken for granted.  The modern boat plug is an ingenious design. If the plug is leaking or too loose, just twist the handle a turn or two. By smashing the rubber bushing to make it wider, any gap is filled tighter. And although they can last for years, eventually the rubber bushing may develop cracks and need to be replaced.

Boat plugs are crucial for keeping water out of a boat; they also are very good at keeping water in a boat. With our tiny swimming pool down for the year, my son claimed he still needed a lure testing facility.

“Hey, I can use the jon boat!” he grinned, reminding me of the recent boat-filling rain.

Mosquito season in Oklahoma can run most of October so it is important to take precautions and keep all stagnant water; even “lure testing facilities,” drained.

Boat plugs are inexpensive so I have extras stashed in the truck and another in a tackle box. I even know of a fisheries research crew member who was awarded a boat plug as a necklace at the end of the year.
Carrying an extra boat plug is a bold fashion statement of jewelry, but it can prove to be a real ‘stopper’.


Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Oklahoma. Visit him at

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