What Is A Transom On A Boat? [With Pictures]

A transom is the entire vertical section at the back of a boat. It runs from the top of the boat’s rear down to the water, and is reinforced to strengthen the hull of the boat, and allow an engine to be mounted. It’s commonly mistaken for the stern, which comprises the same area, but extends into the boat a little.

Transom Rowing Boat

Transom on a small rowing boat

The transom is the place where an outboard motor sits, and also a common place for the name of the boat. For larger boats, it can also include steps down into the water, or doors that lead to platforms for entering the water.

The top edge of a transom can be straight, grooved, or shaped to accommodate the outboard motor (although this isn’t necessary). On a tinny, it’s often shaped so that the outboard motor can be positioned lower. On speed boats and deck boats, there’s often a large space cut into the transom to accommodate two outboard engines, and to keep the boat correctly balanced. On wake boats, the engine is often inside the boat itself, and the bottom half of the transom has a platform attached for getting in and out of the water.

Transom - Large Yacht

Transom with a large space cut-out for the engine

The height of the transom varies depending on the size of the boat. When mounted on the transom, the outboard motor needs to sit at the correct height so that the propeller is submerged to the correct depth, and the motor of the engine isn’t submerged at all. To calculate the height of the transom, you need to measure from its top to bottom, from the centre-most point of the boat.

Transom - Yacht

Transom on a yacht

In fibreglass boats, if the reinforced transom is made of wood, and water gets into it for a long period of time, it eventually rots. If detected, this needs to be fixed immediately because the entire transom could break, sending your engine plummeting into the water.

What is a transom mount?

A transom mount is a trolling motor that mounts to the boat’s transom, used for powering lightweight boats. They’re often electric, cheap to run, and super easy to install. They also require a lot less space than larger petrol outboard motors.

Downsides to transom mounts include less power (although this isn’t important if you don’t need it) steering that has less precision, and fewer technology options.

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