Open main menu
Transom of a larger commercial vessel

A transom is that part of the stern of a vessel where the two sides of its hull meet. A transom may be wide or narrow, curved or angled, raked forward, aft, or plumb.[1][2][3][4]

The bottom tip of the transom can be approximately on the waterline, called a "transom stern", or the hull can continue so that its stern terminates in a transom well above the waterline, called a "counter stern"[5] or "cutaway stern."[6]

The term is probably a corruption of Latin transtrum, a thwart, in a boat; equivalents are French traverse, croisillon, German Heckspiegel.[7]


Outboard motor mounted to the transom of a boat

The transom is that part of the stern of a vessel where the two sides of its hull meet. This junction can take many forms, some wide, some narrow, some that rake forward, some that rake aft, and some that are plumb.

Some small boat transoms are reinforced to accept the weight and stresses created by an outboard motor being attached to them.[8]



A flat transom is by definition vertical and wider than a canoe stern, which narrows to a vertical axis.[9]


A stern where the planks or plating join in a vertical plane similar to the stern of a canoe. Crafts with canoe sterns tend to narrow aft, and can have stability issues.[9]


A reverse transom angles backward from the front of the vessel. They are popular on most cruising sailing yachts. Some include steps to provide convenient water access.[9]


  1. ^ "Definition". Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  2. ^ Jordan, Richard (September 19, 2009). "Stern Styles and Transom Types". Retrieved April 25, 2010.
  3. ^ "What is boat transom?". Sea Born. 2016-12-05. Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  4. ^ Byrne, Stephen. "What Is a Boat Transom?". Retrieved 2018-11-19.
  5. ^ "Transom Stern". Maritime Dictionary. Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  6. ^ "Online Library of Selected Images". United States Navy History and Heritage Command. 17 March 2007. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  7. ^ "Transom". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Retrieved 2007-12-13 – via
  8. ^ "How to determine the correct outboard shaft length". Retrieved 2007-12-14.
  9. ^ a b c "Stern Styles and Transom Types – Sugar Scoop, Reverse, Wineglass, Heartshaped, Canoe, Double Ended, Ducktail". Jordan Yacht Brokerage. 2009-09-19. Retrieved 2018-11-19.