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How to Fix a Rotted Transom on Your Boat


Your boat transom—or the flat section that forms the square-shaped stern—is one of the most critical areas you need to maintain. And, if you have a wooden transom, then you know that you always need to inspect for rot to make sure that everything’s in top shape. To help you with this task, we’ve put together this brief guide on boat transom repair – how to fix a rotted transom on your boat and how to identify this problem.

How to Identify A Rotted Transom

The first step is to know how to find rot in your transom. You might think that giving your boat a once-over is enough, but we’re talking about rot here—it’s not always going to make itself obvious. Wood can rot from the inside out, which means that by the time you see it, you might have a serious rotting problem on your hands.

Many boat owners recommend that when your boat is out of the water and in dry dock, you should knock on the wood to get a sense of how it sounds. For boats with an outboard motor located outside the transom, you may need to remove it to investigate more thoroughly.

If you’re able to simply knock on the wood, you’ll be able to get an idea of whether there’s rot on the inside of the wood. If you get a “hollow” sound, that’s the sign that you need to investigate further by drilling into the transom. If you’re able to easily penetrate the wood by poking it through this hole, it’s a sure sign that you have rot. If not, then you know that the wood inside is still in strong condition.

Some boaters also recommend that you use moisture meters when your boat is in dry dock. A moisture meter will indicate moisture levels, which is a sure sign that if rot hasn’t formed, it may be on the cusp of forming. This is another good way to gauge for rot on the inside of the wood, but keep in mind that it’s just one tool for diagnosing rot, and not necessarily the only tool you have to rely on for the job.

Repairing A Rotted Transom

Once you’ve looked for water trapped in the transom and other issues that could have caused the rotting, it’s time to think about the wood itself. If you caught it early enough, it might be possible that you can avoid expensive boat transom repairs.

One method is to use a product like Git-Rot from BoatLIFE. This two-part liquid epoxy fills and restores the dry rot inside the wood using capillary action to penetrate it without drilling it full of holes. You can inject Git-Rot directly into the wood for more thorough penetration. Make sure the wood fiber are dry though!

For more serious cases, it’s possible that you may need to get the opinion of an expert, who might have to disassemble the transom. But, if you can repair and strengthen the wood with dry rot in its early stages, you can do a lot to maintain the quality of your boat.

Shop More from BoatLIFE

Now that you know how to fix a rotten transom on your boat, are you looking for more ways to maintain your craft? Browse the boat revitalization and cleaning products available here at BoatLIFE for all of your needs!

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