How To Use Boat Fenders
When it comes to attaching, deploying, or installing boat fenders on your boat, you’ll want to consider three key factors: size, placement, and the number of fenders.
1. Choose the Right Size Fender
You should size your fenders according to the size and type of your boat. The general rule of thumb is the smaller the boat, the less length and diameter is needed in a fender. That said, too small of a fender wont protect your hull and can even get smashed when attached to too large of a boat.
For generic vinyl fenders, consulting a boat fender size chart can helpand there may be an applicable size range printed on the label of most fenders that are for sale.
2. Determine Proper Placement and Height
Most place or “hang” their fenders by spacing them equally. What you really need to do is to place them along the widest part of the hull, since that will most likely touch whatever you are docking next to first. Again, there are exceptions.
- If you dock with only your bow next to a jetty, then youll want most of your fenders there.
- Sometimes, youll need a fender when backing into a slip to avoid hitting the transom on the dock.
You’ll also want to consider the height at which you hang the fender . How high or low the fender ends up is based on the dock or piling you’re working with. Depending on the tide, fixed docks may present a too high or too low danger to your boat.
3. Use the Right Number of Fenders for Your Boat
Taylor Made Boat Fenders
Taylor Made Boat fenders are arguably the best in the business. The company makes both round cylindrical and oval cylindrical fenders for vessels as small as 10 feet dinghies to massive 50-foot cruisers.
Taylor Made boat fenders can be bought from one of their physical locations or ordered online through Amazon or eBay. If you dont have a lot of time to go through different options, this is a leading boat equipment company with years in the game, so you can trust that they have high-quality products.
Boat Bumpers Everything You Need To Know About Boat Fenders
When it comes to using a boat, there are many places and situations you will find yourself in. Whether it is at the sandbar, a slip at the restaurant, or docking for fuel. You will want to be able to protect your boat from damage when in these situations by using boat bumpers or fenders.
BoatBumpers or Boat Fenders: Boat Bumpers orBoat Fenders are a device used to place a cushion between the boat and anythingit is tied to, in order to protect the boat and what it is tied to. They aremade from either plastic, rubber, or foam.
Here wewill teach you all of the things you need to know about bumpers, the differentkinds, how to use them, and how to pick them!
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What Size Boat Fender Do I Need
How do I know what is the right sized fenders for my boat?
To help with this, the team at Boat Fenders Direct have come up with a useful table to help you narrow down the correct size boat fender to use for your boat.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the which size boat fender to use.
1) The most important factor is determined by the size of your boat. The table below gives a great guideline as to the size you require. You can also refine your search on our site by using the boat size tabs on the left to bring up our recommendations.
2) What size does your boat currently use and are they suitable?
3) What type of environment do you typically moor? if it’s a calm marina, then a size smaller may suffice, however, a more choppy marina may need larger fenders.
4) Another factor may be the space you have on-board to store the fenders, although we always recommend to choose the largest size possible as to replace a fender is a lot cheaper than damage to a boat!
Finally Don’t Forget To Remove Your Fenders Once Underway
Once you’re ready to get back underway, take up and stow your fenders. Many boaters who cruise with their fenders down take the risk of having one ripped off by a wayward wave. They also tend to be the butt of jokes by many experienced boaters, since theyre known as landlubbers washing their bumpers.
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How To Throw Your Dock Lines
We’ve all seen someone throw a dock line to the dock or to another boat only for it to land embarrassingly a couple feet short. Here’s how to avoid that. First, make two even coils in your right hand and your left hand. Second, the key is that when you are throwing the dock line, extend your hand pointing to the person that it’s being thrown to rather than lobbing it. The line will uncoil and miraculously land to the intended placement.
Knots To Secure Your Boat Fenders
Make sure youre using a strong boating knot such as a cleat hitch or clove hitch so your fenders will stay put on the cleat or railing.
To Tie a Cleat Hitch Knot
Step 1: Make a wrap around the base of the cleat. Begin your wrap on the edge furthest away from where the line originates.
Step 2: Make a figure 8 on the cleat. If the line is going to be under a lot of pressure, and the cleat is big enough, repeat this two or three times.
Step 3: Add a hitch to the final turn to lock it. Do this by making a loop with the tail end underneath, hook it around the cleat, and pull taut. The tail end should be pointing away from the lines origin.
To Tie a Clove Hitch Knot
Step 1: Wrap the end of the line around the post .
Step 2: Cross the line over itself and wrap it around the post again.
Step 3: Loosen the last wrap slightly and slip the end under, then pull it taut. This is a way of locking the knot.
Step 4: Give it a few tugs to make sure its secure.
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Boat Bumpers For Boatspontoons & Inflatables
Big or small, all sorts of boats make use of a bumper fordamage protection. From a small center console to a huge cargo ship, you canfind bumpers on almost any vessel in the sea.
Historically, sailors used bumpers made out of woven rope to protect their vessels out on the water. Gradually, they shifted to ones made out of foam, rubber, elastomer, or soft plastic. Some people even repurpose old car or truck tires to serve as bumpers for their boats.
The number and material of boat bumpers you should use dependson multiple factors, such as the weight and size of your boat.
Boats generally do not have permanent bumpers on-board. You hang the bumpers out the side of the boat only when needed. When you are about to reach another boat you want to raft up to.
Or when you approach a slip for docking, you can put out the bumpers. When you detach the boat and head out to open waters, you usually put the bumpers back in storage.
Find The Right Fender For Your Boat
Whether long or round red, blue, white, or even green or yellow boat fenders are, no matter on which boat, normally found on board as part of the essentials of boating equipment. Nevertheless, our customers are often unsure which fender is the right one for their boat and how many boat fenders are needed. We answer these and other basic questions in our boat fender guide.
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How Many Fenders Do I Need
Frankly, a vessel can never have too many fenders. However, you will need to consider the boats aesthetic. No one wants their vessel to look like a massive floating chunk.
We recommend installing three fenders on each side of a 10-foot boat. From there, with every ten more feet, install one more fender. That means a 20-foot vessel should have at least four fenders on each side.
What Size Boat Fenders Do I Need For My Boat
Every boat owner knows the importance of keeping the hull damage-free. It is for the boats aesthetic, lifespan, and money value if you intend to sell it in the future. Plus, many boats come with a hull protective coating, its best to keep the surface scratch-free to prevent algae and mold.
Boat fenders are excellent for protecting the hull. These cushion the vessel in the event of bumping against the dock or other boats during peak hours. However, the wrong size of boat fenders wont be as effective. For maximal protection, you must consider the boat fender sizes, as well as the number and position of fenders that work best for your vessel.
So what size boat fenders do I need for my boat? Briefly, for every four to five feet of boat length, you will want a one-inch cylindrical fender or a two-inch round fender. That means a 15-foot tracker boat needs three to four-inch cylindrical fenders. But how many fenders should I get? And where to hang them?
Dive in for detailed answers to all questions above!
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Additional Tips For Deploying Fenders In Certain Situations
There are some unique situations which will require individual judgement:
Rafting up to another boat will require both vessels to have fenders, if possible. If the boats are of different heights, its best to put one set of fenders lower and the other higher off the waterline.
Boats with less hull curvature can touch farther down, near the waterline, so adjust as needed. Upon departure, be careful that the fenders dont get tangled in one another. In that case, you may want to remove a few before departure so theres less chaos.
Smaller Boats & Personal Watercraft
Some smaller boats or personal watercrafts will have a fitting on the hull or deck that will allow you to pop in a fender that has a matching appendage at the end of its line. This is a bit rare but perfect because the fenders are preset for maximum protection of the hull and deck and can be added quickly even by those who cant tie an effective knot. Many of these fenders are L-shaped to wrap around the hull/deck joint and are primarily used with small boats.
What Fenders Should You Buy
Ive spoken a lot about cylindrical fenders in this sizing guide, but in reality, you should choose specialist pontoon fenders which have been made for the specifics that a pontoon design has.
The best option by far are the Taylor Made pontoon fenders, and you can read more about them in my larger guide to pontoon fenders.
If you want to go buy them now, then take a look on Amazon as they have them in stock right now and tend to have very good prices compared your local marine store.
They have grooves and loops for securing them top and bottom to your pontoon.
They then wedge very neatly between the deck and the log, and work great, rather than having cylindrical fenders hanging down off the boat which can look very ugly.
You then get a nice and tight fit which will protect your pontoon whilst in dock. The straps ensure that it stays on tight and wont kick back and forth along the side of the pontoon like other standard fenders might do.
Heres a great video that shows just how simple they are to install.
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Different Kinds Of Fenders
The kinds of fenders are certainly linked to the size, so be familiar with them first. Some are hung vertically while others are positioned horizontally.
Youll notice that there are two eyes on both sides of this fender. These are for you to hang vertically. Theres a bowline knot that is tied on one of the eyes for security.
You should know that a cylindrical fender can also be laid out horizontally with a stopper that looks like number eight in both eyes.
This one is made of soft vinyl and you will likely see it on large boats with flared or concave bows.
Center Rope Cylindrical
Youre free to install it horizontally or vertically because it has a hole in the middle where a rope is.
Its also called a foam buffer and is used for small boats. You have to place it on the gunwale for protection from collisions.
This is a Mediterranean style fender used for docking. It shields the swim step and transoms from damage.
It sits high on the hull while hanging inward on the gunwale. The smaller size of this fender is typically to cater to fishing, ski, and bass boats. Youll see it sitting low in the water. The bigger ones are attached to bigger crafts to protect them when encountering waves. Theres no chance of riding up or riding below high docks.
Its versatile due to mounting options as adding several of them wont result in rolling or riding up.
Do You Want To Hang Them Horizontally Or Vertically
Center rope tube fenders allow you to hang the fender either horizontally or vertically using one line running through the centerline. A figure eight knot in the end of the line, or two figure eights at both ends of the fender are used to keep the fender from sliding.
Flat fenders are either modular or articulating and vinyl-covered. String together the modular style to create a custom-fitted system. Hinged vinyl-covered flat fenders wrap vertically around small boat gunwales, and are great for boats with tumblehome .
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How To Tie Your Dock Lines
Knowing how to tie a dock line is both one of the easiest and simplest techniques you can learn as a boater. The cleat hitch is the most popular way to secure your lines to a cleat and it is shown below.
Always avoid any knots in your dock lines as they will vastly reduce the strength of your lines.
My Recommended Pontoon Fenders
Taylor Made are without doubt the best manufacturer, with fenders of the correct size to be used with any pontoon boat on the market.
Heres a guidance table I have developed that explains the differences between different fender types, including the pros and cons to each type.
Should You Use Orange Round Ball Buoys?
Ive seen plenty of pontoons use orange ball buoys.
The look ugly and cheap, dont they?
The only time I would use them would be when rafting which means when you tie up against another boat.
If you are going to be tying up to another pontoon, then heres where you would need them.
Id recommend using 3 standard fenders at maximum beam, then a round orange ball fender at both aft and fore.
Handy Hint: I also recommend that you buy fender adjusters as this will make adjusting the height of the bumpers plus bringing them back into the boat way easier.
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Where Do I Store My Fenders
A quick look in the back storage container of most ships will paint a similar picture: boat fenders generally take up the most storage space and they are rather impractical when it comes to storing them. Nevertheless, safety on board remains a top priority, and should not be given up for a lack of space. Too few fenders on board can be just as bad as having none at all! But then where should I store them? The deck and railing lend themselves as a perfect place here. In our large selection, you can find fender baskets made out of sturdy stainless steel, which can easily be mounted on to the bars of boat railings. With many types of fender holders, you can mount your fenders to the stern of your vessel, where they will interfere with your space the least. When your fenders have to be kept off of the deck, you are left with two possibilities to store them either in the back storage container or in the cabin.
What Is A Boat Bumper
A boat bumper, or boat fender, is a pad or cushion that you place on the side of your boat. The bumper acts as a cushion when your boat comes into contact with another boat or a dock. It absorbs the force of the impact, keeping your boat safe from any damage.
Bumpers are able to do this because of their intrinsic properties. They are usually made out of foam, rubber, or soft plastic. The soft materials deform during the impact and absorb all of the force. Thus, they are able to prevent damages to the boat through accidental contact or when tied up.
When you tie your boat up, the raising and lowering of the tide or water will make your boat move slightly.
The waves can make your boat smack up against the dock repeatedly. Causing damage to your boat and the dock.
That is why we place a bumper between the boat and the dock when tying the boat up. The bumper absorbs all of the force and prevents damage to your boat and the dock.
Even when you raft up with another boat, the waves can make the two boats smack up against each other. By placing bumpers where the two boats come into contact. You can protect both of them from scratching up and causing damage.
Whenever you tie up your boat, whether it is to a dock oranother boat, it is a good idea to hang out your bumpers first.
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