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What is a Boat Transom

What is a Boat Transom

A boat transom is an important part of boat design and construction. The transom is the flat or slightly curved surface that forms the stern or back of a boat. On powerboats, the transom may contain the opening where an outboard motor is mounted. On sailboats, the transom provides support for the rudder and often serves as a mount for other hardware.

Purpose of a Boat Transom

The main purpose of the transom is to provide structural support and create a watertight seal for the aft end of the boat. Without a sturdy transom, the hull would lack integrity and be prone to leaking. The transom bears the brunt of forces exerted when a boat moves through the water and changes direction.

Types of Boat Transoms

There are several common types of boat transoms, each suited for different boat styles and purposes:

  • Square transom – A flat and vertical transom seen on center console fishing boats and other motorboats. Good for mounting large outboards.
  • Rounded transom – A gently curved transom common on smaller motorboats. Deflects water efficiently when underway.
  • Canoe transom – A flat transom angled foreward. This raked design provides structural support on canoes and kayaks.
  • Double-ender transom – Some long, narrow boats like dories have a transom at both ends. Makes landing easier.
  • Stern knee transom – On traditional small wooden boats, structural wood knees brace a minimal transom.
  • Transom platform – Some motor yachts have an extended platform attached to the transom for boarding or swimming.

Transom Construction

On fiberglass boats, the transom is molded together with the hull for monolithic strength. Wooden boats may have transoms built from layered marine plywood sealed with epoxy. Other transom materials include aluminum, steel, and even advanced composites like carbon fiber.

The transom on outboard boats must be reinforced to bear engine weight. Backing plates, knee braces, and other structural members help support the transom. Well-designed transoms are crucial for safe, reliable boating. When maintained and repaired properly, the transom will provide many years of service.

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Steve Momot

Steve Momot

Steve is an accomplished professional photographer and marketer who specializes in the Fishing, Yacht, and Boating industry. With a strong presence as an influencer and marketing expert in the Marine Industry, he has made a significant impact in the field. Additionally, Steve is the original creator and co-founder of Sportfishtrader. Prior to his career as a marine photographer, he gained extensive experience as a licensed boat and car dealer in South Florida.


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