A scupper is an opening in the side walls of a vessel or an open-air structure, which allows water to drain instead of pooling within the bulwark or gunwales of a vessel, or within the curbing or walls of a building.

Two scuppers cut into either side of this outdoor stairwell prevent water from building up and making the stairs slippery.
Ship's bulwark and scupper. The scupper hole (8) has a grille cover, with water leading through the scupper pipe (9) to an outlet (10)

There are two main kinds of scuppers:

  1. Ships have scuppers at deck level, to allow for ocean or rainwater drain-off.[1]
  2. Buildings with railed rooftops may have scuppers to let rainwater drain instead of pooling within the railing. Scuppers can also be placed in a parapet, for the same purpose.[2]


  1. ^ "Useful Arts". New Monthly Magazine. 33: 418. 1831. Retrieved 4 November 2019.
  2. ^ Editors (1918). Sweet's Architectural Catalog File. Sweet's Division, McGraw-Hill Information Systems Company. p. 275.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)

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