If you are in need of repairing the transom on your bass boat, there are certain steps you’ll want to take in order to make sure it’s done correctly.
Any time your boat is in need of repair it can be stressful, and the transom is no exception to this. On a bass boat, the transom is an important structural element, and fixing it is not only crucial to your boat’s functionality but it’s also impossible to operate a bass boat properly without an intact transom. But, the steps to do it correctly can be overwhelming if you don’t have them laid out in an easy-to-follow manner.
Here are the four steps to repairing the transom on your bass boat:
- Identify the problem
- Cut out the rot
- Let your boat fully dry
- Replace the damaged parts of the transom with new ones
One of the biggest headaches of boat ownership is trying to determine when your transom can be fixed, or if it needs to be replaced. The next biggest stressor is deciding if you can do the job yourself, or need to take your boat to the professionals and have them do it for you. Your transom is not the simplest part of your boat to fix on your own, but if you follow this step-by-step guide, you and your boat will be up and running in no time.
I am an avid boater and have spent many hours finding solutions to simple repairs on my own bass boat. Some things are easier to do than others, and – through trial and error – I’ve learned which parts I can fix myself and when it’s time to load my boat onto the trailer and go off to my favorite boat repair shop. In the case of a transom, I’ve learned the steps to fix it myself and I’m happy to share those with you.
How to Fix Your Bass Boat’s Transom: A Step-By-Step Guide
Your bass boat’s transom is one of the most important structures on your boat, as it holds some of the most important equipment, from your navigation systems, to your steering column, and electrical panel.
Think of your bass boat’s transom as its spine. Without a properly functioning transom, many of the most important safety and operating features will fail to work at their full capacity.
The transom is the main support for your bass boat’s stern and its role should never be downplayed, nor should you let it fall into disrepair to the point that it is compromising the ability of your boat to function.
Probably the biggest threat to your transom staying in top shape and working well is weather and water. Transoms are super susceptible to rot, which – as any boat lover knows – can be a boat’s worst enemy.
And once you have a spot with significant rot, it can be tough, since the rot will just continue until you find a way to eliminate it.
Determining how to go about repairing your transom can take a bit of ingenuity and problem-solving on your part. But believe me, dealing with the problem before it becomes too big to repair is your best defense against a damaged transom.
Let’s dive into the steps you will need to take to determine the severity of your transom’s damage and what you can do to repair it and get you – and your bass boat! – back out on the water.
1. Step One: Identify the Problem
Before you do anything else towards repairing your transom, you’ll want to assess the situation and figure out exactly what the extent of the damage is, how it’s happening, and where you can begin the repair.
Most often, when a bass boat’s transom is damaged, it is from water leaking into it from one or more places. It’s not hard to figure out where this might be occurring, but you’ll want to do it step-by-step to ensure you’re not missing something.
Start with investigating all the bolts on your transom. Using your index finger, run it around the edge of each bolt where it makes contact with the transom and try to determine whether or not the seals have been broken. (You’ll know if you can feel dampness on any part of the bolt.) For any bolt that feels wet, make a note of it so you don’t forget which ones need new sealant added to them.
Next, feel around the steering wheel, and press your fingers down around any area where a piece of equipment (steering column, stereo, switch plates) comes into contact with the transom. If any of the pieces seem to sag into the transom, you know there is some damaging rot starting behind them. Again, make a note of which parts of the transom seem to be sagging into the outer material.
Finally, go ahead and unscrew a few screws where you either felt moisture, or you can visibly see some indentation happening. If water comes out of the screw hole, even just a few drips, you know you have a problem. On the other hand, if the area behind the screw hole is dry, you may want to replace it and then try another one.
Once you’ve made your assessment of where the damage lies within your transom, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step.
2. Step Two: Cut Out the Rot
Once you’ve determined the severity of damage to your transom, you can start the task of repairing it.
Assuming the entire transom on your bass boat doesn’t need replacement, you’ll be able to carefully and methodically replace just the areas where you identified there is water damage and thus rot setting in.
Having the correct tools on hand before you start this fix is going to be imperative to your success. No one likes to start a big project like this one and find out halfway through that they need to go buy another tool in order to finish the job.
Each boat design is unique, so the exact tools you will need are going to depend on your boat. That said, some of the more common ones will be plywood, fiberglass replacement, a jigsaw, epoxy fillers, small razor blades, and resin fillers.
If you are unsure of what you’ll need to remove the rotted parts from your transom in a safe and effective way, you may want to consult with your local boating supply store when you purchase your materials or contact your boat’s manufacturer. They will know the exact materials needed for your specific boat.
3. Step Three: Let Your Boat Fully Dry
This is an easy, but important step in the repair of your bass boat’s transom.
Once you’ve determined there is damage in your transom, you’ll want to let the area that has been water-logged dry out before you re-encase it.
If you don’t take the time to do this, and just go ahead and replace the wet areas with new and improved dry ones, there’s a good chance your problem will resurface at another time.
So, before you start replacing anything, give your boat a chance to have a good dry-out. Picking a nice, sunny day with low humidity is a great time to do this, so that any remaining water in the transom will dissipate before you close it back up.
You can expedite this process by not just letting the sun and dry air do all the work. Using water-absorbing sponges, towels or even a hair dryer will help move this step along, especially if the water damage was extensive and you can visibly see pooled water in any area inside the transom.
Once the transom is fully dry, you can move on to step four.
4. Step Four: Replace the Damaged Parts of the Transom With the New Ones
Now for the fun part!
Anyone who is a do-it-yourself type of boat owner will enjoy this process. And, now that you have all your tools in place, it should go smoothly and result in the repair of your transom being effective and complete.
Using your jigsaw (or whatever type of cutting device you’ve opted to use) cut your plywood and fiberglass pieces to scale, making sure they will fit flush with the areas that you’ve removed.
Then, depending on what type of epoxy or glue you’ve chosen, you will want to fix the plywood and fiberglass pieces together, allowing them to fully set and dry before you affix them to the transom.
This is the stage where many boat owners also decide to paint the fiberglass pieces so that they can fully dry before being inserted. Though you could decide to paint them after they are in place, it is probably easier and more effective to do it beforehand.
Once your new pieces are ready, you can insert them into the areas they have been cut and designed for. You’ll then use whatever type of sealant you have chosen to secure them in place.
When all your pieces are complete, reapply a thin coat of sealant to any edges you see. Let the sealant dry, then apply one more coat of the fiberglass paint, focusing specifically on the seals and where the edges adhere to the original transom.
About THE AUTHOR
I have a deep love of houseboating and the life-changing experiences houseboating has brought into my life. I’ve been going to Lake Powell on our family’s houseboat for over 30 years and have made many great memories, first as a child and now as a parent. My family has a passion for helping others have similar fun, safe experiences on their houseboat.Read More About Brian Samson