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Author Topic:   Rot in Transom
fester posted 03-23-2001 01:01 AM ET (US)   Profile for fester   Send Email to fester  
I have a 1969 16 foot boston whaler with a 80 horsepower mercury outboard. I use the boat offshore in Ventura California. I usually venture out into the ocean up to 20 miles offshore. Last week I was mounting a bracket for a kicker motor and in drilling several holes in the transom, I noticed black water leaking out. I later determined that the inner portion of the transom is rotted out. My question is how does this affect the integrity of my boat. Is it a safety hazard and should I be concerned about taking the boat in the ocean. I would appreciate your thoughts.
Whalerdan posted 03-23-2001 07:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for Whalerdan  Send Email to Whalerdan     
Get a Seatow subscription a good life jacket and wetsuit.
dscew posted 03-23-2001 08:28 AM ET (US)     Profile for dscew    
Transoms can be replaced if the person doing the work is familiar with building back in the same structural integrity as the original. The transom takes more stress than any other part of the boat, and is nothing to do halfway. I would take the boat to a professional. I did this once many years ago and the person did a great job for under $1K. I do agree that a good lifejacket is a good idea until you get the work done! The good news is that the boat won't go down, since after all it is a Whaler.
dfmcintyre posted 03-23-2001 08:35 AM ET (US)     Profile for dfmcintyre  Send Email to dfmcintyre     
Transom integrity of a boat that has rot is very hard to judge, without multiple exploratory drillings.

Only the fiberglass shell is holding the torque of the motor to the boat, not any wood substructure. Naturally there is more stree while underway, in rough weather vs. idling or just sitting at mooring. I've seen boats last for decades like this (your's may be in this catagory) and I've seen instances where on the transom fell off on a sharp turn (though not off of a Whaler....but there ARE limits).

I'd consider the following logic:

Is the boat of sentemental value, i.e. in the family, passed down, etc.?

Is it in good enough shape to restore?

Am I willing to restore something that I probably will not get my money out of? (I know that flys in the face of logic, but we're talking Whalers here, and BTDT, as most of the forum members can also attest to!)

If most or all of the answers are YES, then I'd recommend taking it to three different fiberglass shops in your area, and get quotes on costs, and see samples of their finished repairs. I'd lean toward a full transom replacement vs a small section repair, depending on what the drill samples show.

If you get it done, make sure that the engine is mounted properly. This is where most leakage develops in older boats, from the bedding compound breaking down.

I spent an additional $3-3800 on replacing a transom on my '73 21' Outrage. That was from a very high quality repair shop in the midwest.

Good luck! Best - Don

tbyrne posted 03-23-2001 08:38 AM ET (US)     Profile for tbyrne    
No, the boat won't sink, but you may still drown or die from hypothermia. Sometimes, I think Whaler owners have an unhealthy sense of invincibility because their boat is unsinkable. We are talking about the OCEAN - the area between Catalina and LA/Orange County can get very nasty very quickly and an unsinkable boat is no guarantee that you will not die. Fooling around 20 miles out in the Pacific with a rotted transom is a recipe for disaster.
fester posted 03-24-2001 10:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for fester  Send Email to fester     
Thanks for your input. I think I a going to try to purchase a larger whaler.


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