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How to install boat oars & locks

Updated April 17, 2017

Rowing is still one of the most crucial aspects of boating. Even motorboats often come with oars and oarlocks in case of mechanical failure. Whether installing oars and oarlocks on motored watercraft, rowboats, drift boats or sculling craft, there are many types of oars and oarlocks, but installation is virtually the same. Whatever the type of boat, with the right tools and technique, you can quickly install boat oars and locks.

Mark the location of the oar locks just aft of the midline of the boat railing with a marker. Measure the distance of your first marking and duplicate it on the opposite side.

Drill holes in the places you marked with a power drill and drill bit. Most oarlocks are approximately 1/2 inch in diameter, so the drill bit should be about that size.

Insert the base of the oarlocks into the seats you just drilled. Many oarlocks are made to be screwed into place in their seats. In this case, screw them into place with the supplied screws using a power drill and driver bit.

Insert the oars into the oarlocks.

Attach the oar buttons on the oars on the interior side of the oarlocks.

Things You'll Need

  • Marker
  • Tape measure
  • Power drill
  • Drill bits
  • Driver bit
  • Oarlocks
  • Oars
  • Oar buttons
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