Boat Fenders and Dock Bumpers to the Rescue (Protect your fun investment)
What spoils the end of a great day on the water more than a rogue wave slamming your hull against the dock as you slip into place? That thud could mean a scuffed hull, or even worse, a costly and time-consuming gash repair.
The art of docking needs to accommodate for the weather, the currents, and the wake of other watercraft. But some things just can’t be controlled. Both boat fenders and dock bumpers provide a cushion to protect your hull from damage when berthing. They also protect from chafing when the boat is not in use. Finding the right combination can keep your hull in great shape.
Fenders Protect on the Go
Because they attach to the boat, fenders protect your craft whether docking at home or your favorite restaurant along the water. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Larger vessels need more sturdy fenders because their increased mass places greater force against the dock upon contact.
Fender designs range from geometric shapes to whimsical. Standard forms include round or ball style, cylindrical (also called long), or flat fenders.
How many fenders will you need?
The number of fenders and placement depends on your boat size and the type of landing conditions it will face. Most recreational boats need three fenders per side. Place fenders every 10’ for vessels longer than 30’.
How to position fenders
Boaters deploy fenders over the side before landing or when rafting with other craft. Long cylindrical fenders hang in either horizontal or vertical positions.
Boating Magazine recommends vertical placement as easier to control when next to a “smooth-surface pier, bulkhead or floating dock.” Place one fender near the widest point of the hull and one near the stern. Extra fenders offer even more protection but remember to consider where to store them when not in use.
However, when moored next to a piling, use horizontal positioning centered against the piling. But, if the waters are rough or your stay extended, Boating Magazine suggested using a “fender-board” set up with a 2×4 board suspended in front of two vertically hung fenders. The plank takes the beating while the fenders keep your boat safe.
Boat Dock Bumpers
DoItYourself.com recommends that you determine how many boats will fit in your space and install at least two bumpers for each vessel to rest against. Consider installing dock cushions along the edge in areas dealing with particularly choppy water or multiple smaller watercraft.
Some of the other stationary tools that you can use to protect the boat and dock from colliding are:
● Corner dock bumpers
● Post bumpers
● Removable post bumpers
Bumper Installation Ideas
When installing dock and post bumpers, you need to decide on either the “Top-of-Dock” or the “Fold-Over” method. In their installation documents boating products manufacturer Taylor Made states that the “Top-of-Dock” method provides greater resistance to tearing and more protection for greatly sloped hulls.
But, the “Fold-Over” technique does not have any material on top of the deck that could pose a tripping hazard. The “Fold-Over” approach also prevents any top row attachments from damaging boats. Ultimately you will have to determine which method best suits your needs.
How to Determine Bumper Placement
On its Discover Boating website, the National Marine Manufacturers Association recommends different boat dock bumper positions depending on the type of structure. You should consider installing a dock cushion around the edge of small landings with the pilings set underneath it and floating docks that don’t use pilings.
Docks with exposed pilings need padding on those pilings in addition to the protective edging. Make sure corners are covered as well because it is easier to hit corners than most boaters think.
Protect your boat with fenders and bumpers to enjoy your perfectly executed glide to a stop no matter what the waters toss at you.
If you need more help selecting the right blend of fenders and dock bumpers to protect your baby, call Boat Lift Warehouse today to talk with one of our knowledgeable associates.