Suction bucket jackets are increasingly being used to support bottom-fixed offshore wind turbines. It is generally assumed that contact between the underside of the bucket lid and the seabed is mandatory to safeguard against additional settlement. Lid contact is usually ensured by underwater grout injection, albeit this has a significant impact of installation durations and costs. Although grouting is routine, there are limited available data regarding the benefits of ensuring contact between the lid and the soil. This paper presents data from centrifuge tests of completely and partially installed buckets in dense sand subjected to vertical cyclic loading to investigate the role of lid contact. Lid contact was shown to have a discernible effect on displacement accumulation when buckets were loaded beyond the drained skirt capacity in compression. Under these conditions, settlement of a completely installed bucket was limited by lid contact with the soil plug, while partially installed buckets experienced continuous settlement, as expected. The physical evidence indicates complex load transfer mechanisms that are influenced significantly by the drainage conditions. Hence, an understanding of the soil drainage characteristics at a particular site would provide value when evaluating the requirement for under lid grouting.