Do Jon Boats Have Drain Plugs?

Jon Boat on lake filling up with water

A drain plug on a boat allows water to drain, but you can’t find such a plug anywhere on your jon boat. Today, I’ll discuss whether or not jon boats include this feature. 

Do jon boats have drain plugs? Some jon boat models do include drain plugs but others do not. If yours doesn’t have a drain plug, then you can always buy an aftermarket drain plug kit and install it yourself.

In this article, you’ll learn where to find the drain plug in your jon boat, why jon boat drain plugs are so important, and how to install a drain plug if your jon boat doesn’t have drain plugs. 

Let’s begin!

Do Jon Boats Have Drain Plugs? Where Do You Find Yours?

Jon boats are vessels with a flat bottom and several benches. The boat itself is made of a polyethylene, wood, fiberglass, or aluminum shell. 

Despite their exceedingly simple design, some jon boats will have drain plugs and others will not. 

The number of drain plugs varies as well but is usually based more on the size of the boat than the model.

Your jon boat may have a single drain plug or up to two plugs and possibly even more. 

If your jon boat does include multiple drain plugs, then they’ll be installed in the vicinity of one another. 

Finding Your Jon Boat Drain Plug

So, does your particular make and model of jon boat have a drain plug? And if so, where is it?

While you can always take your boat out of the water, flip her upside down, and take a look, you can also save yourself the time and trouble with a much more convenient method of finding the drain plug. 

Thumb through your owner’s manual. If you see a mention of drain plugs anywhere in the manual, then that’s a clear confirmation that your jon boat does indeed include these plugs.

Should the owner’s manual not say a word about drain plugs, then your boat more than likely lacks this feature. You can always check your jon boat to confirm as much, but don’t expect to find anything. 

The owner’s manual–if your jon boat has at least one drain plug–will also include a diagram of your boat with the drain plug(s) included or photos of the boat that will show you where to find the drain plugs.

If you lost your original owner’s manual, you can always look up a PDF copy online.

So where is the drain plug located on a jon boat? The plug(s) is usually between the hull and the deck, but I want to make it clear that the plug’s placement can vary according to the jon boat’s make and model. 

The Types of Drain Plugs

Given all the many jon boats on the market, you might not come across the same type of drain plug each and every time. 

Thus, I thought it’d make sense to go over the types of drain plugs in this section. 

Baitwell Drain Plugs

The first type of drain plug you might see in a jon boat is a baitwell plug. 

These drain plugs are especially renowned for creating an airtight, non-slip, leakproof seal when secured in place. 

The base of the baitwell plug itself is brass, and the body is made of a combination of neoprene and rubber. 

It’s the body design that provides the airtight seal your jon boat needs when out on the water. 

Garboard Drain Plugs

Next is the garboard drain plug, which features a twist-style plug made of durable nylon. 

Considered a simpler type of drain plug, it’s not challenging in the slightest to install or detach a garboard drain plug, and you don’t even need complex tools to do it. 

When you twist the nylon on the garboard plug, the plug will create a watertight seal thanks to its metal body. 

You can also quickly and conveniently open a garboard plug to drain water as needed. 

Nylon Drain Plugs

Although the drain plugs I’ve discussed already feature nylon components, a nylon drain plug is comprised of more nylon than most.

It will feature stainless steel or brass chrome plating as well. 

When inserted into the opening of your jon boat, a nylon drain plug will seal in nice and tight so water cannot get in unless the plug is open.

Another benefit of using nylon drain plugs is that they’re considerably less expensive than the other options discussed in this section. 

Twist/Snap Drain Plugs

That brings me to twist/snap drain plugs, the last type of drain plug your jon boat might utilize.  

A twist/snap drain plug has a threaded retention system for water tightness. 

These drain plugs usually feature some metal and nylon components much in the same vein as the other plugs. 

That explains why twist/snap drain plugs remain a very popular option for boaters. 

Does a Boat Really Need a Drain Plug?

You’ve searched high and low, and you can say with relative confidence that your jon boat does not have a drain plug. 

Is that really such a big deal at the end of the day? It can be, yes!

A drain plug in a boat is sort of like the drain in your bathtub. 

If you press down on that drain, then as your tub fills with water, the drain prevents the water from draining. 

You don’t want the water to fill up forever though, as then your tub could overflow. 

You also can’t leave your tub full of water, especially when someone else needs to take a bath or shower next. So, you open the drain, and whoosh, all the water comes out.

Now, a big difference between a bathtub and a boat is that you want water in your tub. You don’t want water in a boat.

If water begins to fill up in your boat, be it a jon boat or otherwise, then you could sink. 

Thus, you’d open the drain plug to send all the water that’s accumulated in your boat out. 

Of course, you have to be quick about this. If the drain is open for too long, since it’s a large, circular hole, then water can rush right in. 

Using a drain plug is a careful balancing act.

If your jon boat doesn’t have a drain plug and you decide to keep it that way, then know you’d be at an elevated risk of sinking since you’d have no means of draining the water from the boat.

You’d have to know when to jump ship and get to shore so you don’t drown along with your jon boat. 

How to Install a Drain Plug in Your Jon Boat 

Of course, should your jon boat lack a drain plug, your options aren’t only to either a.) live without or b.) buy a new jon boat with a drain plug.

There’s also Option C, which is install a drain plug in your existing jon boat.

I should caution you that if your boat is still covered under a warranty, making a big, ol’ hole in the boat would surely void that warranty. 

Should your jon boat warranty have expired or you never had a warranty to start with, then here’s how to install a drain plug in your jon boat.

Step 1 – Gather Your Tools

Assuming you’re piercing into aluminum, as that’s a common jon boat material, you’re going to need a good drill for the job.

You also need some nuts and bolts and a drain plug of your choosing. 

You can also explore boat drain plug kits that include the drain plug as well as the nuts, bolts, and screws required for the job.

Step 2 – Measure the Size of Your Drain Plug

What is the diameter of your drain plug? 

The hole in your jon boat that you’ll drill should be slightly smaller than that diameter so the drain plug fits perfectly.

If the hole is too big, then your drain plug will go right through the hole. 

Should you make the hole too much smaller, then the drain plug won’t fit in all the way and won’t be able to keep water out.

Keep in mind the diameter of the hole you make. If you decide to replace your drain plug in the future, which is likely, you will need a new plug of the same diameter to avoid the above issues.

Step 3 – Drill Your Hole

Using a permanent marker, make a circular outline under your jon boat that’s the diameter of the drain plug you measured. Make sure the circle is drawn exactly where you want the drain plug on the boat.

Then take your drill and create a hole following that circular outline as your guide. 

Step 4 – Install the Drain Plug

You can now thread or turn the drain plug into place, which is the easy part. Do make sure that the drain plug fits snugly to create a watertight seal. 

Step 5 – Test the Drain Plug

Now it’s time to take your jon boat out for a leisurely joyride and see how the new drain plug performs.

If you followed the instructions above to the letter, then you shouldn’t run into any issues.

Trust me when I say though that you’d notice very quickly if something was wrong with the drain plug, as water would begin to seep into your boat! 

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