3. Mount the Cleat
Mask off the area, and then bed the mounting surface generously with a marine sealant, such as 3M 4200, and position the faceplate. Cleats like this Accon model have welded mounting studs; others bolt up through the faceplate. Position the drain cup and backing plate on the underside, and then the washers and locknuts. Tighten the locknuts. Once the cleat is snug, clean up the excess sealant and remove the masking tape.
4. Install the Drain
On models such as the Attwood Neat Cleat, the drain cup is attached last, while the cup for this Accon model is installed with the cleat. In either case, attach 3/8-inch-inside-diameter vinyl tubing to the hose barb at the bottom of the cup; then route the tubing to a suitable drain location. For the drain fitting, use a T-H Marine 3/8-inch push-in impact drain (visit boatingmag.com/rod-holder-drains). Many fishing boats won’t require the drain, since the gunwales are open to the self-bailing cockpit.
Torque It Twice
Allow the underlying sealant to cure for a day or two after you have initially battened the cleat, and then tighten the fasteners just a quarter- or half-turn more. This creates a gasket that helps ensure a secure and watertight installation.
No Cutout Required
If you’re reluctant to take a jigsaw to your deck, there are pull-up cleats that forgo a central cutout, including the Accon 450 series, Attwood Neat Cleat and Sea-Dog 41420 series. These require only two holes, albeit large ones, for which you’ll need a hole saw.