Dock Bumpers and Fenders: Protecting your Boat from the Dock

Dock Bumpers and Fenders: Protecting your Boat from the Dock

We can’t all be perfect when it comes to docking. Even experienced boaters can face conditions that make docking safely a challenge. While it is important to have a full set of fenders on your boat, it is equally important to have bumpers on your dock. Dock fenders protect your boat (and the dock) from impact and can even help you guide your vessel into its slip. This article is a guide to the common dock fenders available and their usage.

Types of Dock Fenders

Tires

tiresOh yes, the good ol’ tire. You’ll find tires in all kinds of marinas, and they are largely effective against impact. Using tires also keeps them out of the landfill and extends their useful life. The main drawback with tires is that they scuff fiberglass badly. You’ll certainly want to use boat fenders to keep your boat from rubbing against the tires while at the dock, especially if you have a nice shiny fiberglass hull. To be effective, tires should be hung close together and run the length of the dock or slip. You can even make a decent corner bumper out of tire.

Dock Edging

edge bumper rub railDock edging is easy to customize. You can simply get the length you need and then screw or nail it into the dock’s edge. Easy peasy. Dock edging works great to protect your boat from gentle bumps and repetitive rubbing due to wave action. Where it does not do well is impact. If you come hard into the dock you are still likely to receive damage despite the edging. Dock edging is best when used in combination with other fending methods.

Piling Fenders

piling fenderPilings add complication to docking your boat. There are several ways of dealing with pilings. It’s a good idea to have fender boards on the boat to use when you are out and about, but if the piling is in your own slip, you’ll likely want a more permanent bumper on the piling itself. Strap-on piling bumpers that wrap around pilings can serve this purpose. Good ol’ tires can be used as well by dropping them over the top of a piling and down to the dock. Pile enough tires like this to make a full bumper.

Inflatable or Foam-filled Dock Fenders

inflatable dock fenderInflatable or Foam-filled Dock Fenders come in a few different configurations, generally, 90-degree corners and straight sections, but other angles are sometimes offered as well. Dock fenders help with both impact and rubbing. They take the hit instead of your boat. Dock fenders work well alongside dock edging for added protection. They do not necessarily have to be installed end to end, but be sure to at least cover the areas you are most likely to hit with your bow when coming in.

Dock Wheels

dock wheelDock Wheels are wonderful things. They serve the dual-duty of fending your boat off the dock and assisting it into the slip. They usually come in two configurations, corner mount and side mount. At minimum install one on the corner of your dock, but even better install another along the side. If you have a full slip, install one on each corner and one on each side. On a windy day you’ll be thankful to be able to roll your boat into the slip.

Final Thoughts

The amount and type of dock fenders you use depends on your boat size, dock configuration, and the conditions you are exposed to. If you’ve got a big heavy boat, a slip, and often face high winds, the ideal scenario is to combine dock fender types to your advantage: use dock edging to cover all edges, dock fenders placed to absorb impact, and dock wheels to protect your boat from the corners and assist in pulling your boat into the slip. With a lighter boat against a single dock, a couple of inflatable or high-density, closed-cell foam dock fenders may be all you need.

Published

Recent Posts

Bent Boat Anchor Shank: Common Causes and Prevention Tips
Bent Boat Anchor Shank: Common Causes and Prevention Tips
Numerous factors can ultimately lead to a bent anchor shank, but the majority of the time this is caused either by a bad snag or from the boat shifting its load in a perpendicular direction from the anchor set. In this article, we will discuss common causes and prevention tips to help you avoid finding yourself in such an unlucky predicament.
Prepare Your Boat For An Above Average Hurricane Season
Prepare Your Boat For An Above Average Hurricane Season
According to the Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), 2021 will likely bring more hurricanes to the Atlantic coast than we have typically seen in the past. As a result, boaters are being warned to immediately begin putting together a plan of action in case a hurricane does touch down in your area.
Best Methods For Anchoring Your Jet Ski in Deep or Shallow Water
Best Methods For Anchoring Your Jet Ski in Deep or Shallow Water
Jet Ski and PWC riders often don't have actual docks or slips for you to tie up to when exploring new areas. As a result, it's important to have the right gear and know-how when it comes time to take a break and drop the anchor. Follow along below as we discuss the best methods for anchoring in either shallow or deep water.
Best Options For Connecting Your Boat To WiFi Internet
Best Options For Connecting Your Boat To WiFi Internet
Whether you’re sailing around the world, exploring remote destinations, or hosting a few friends for a weekend getaway, there has never been a better time to connect your boat and guests with high-speed internet. Today’s digital era has made connectivity an essential part of work and play for most people, so we’ve assembled the best methods for accessing the internet right from your boat.
Best Boating and Fishing Mobile Apps of 2021
Best Boating and Fishing Mobile Apps of 2021
In today's modern world, there are a plethora of apps available to help us navigate our everyday lives. In recent years the boating world has benefited greatly from a variety of helpful apps that can help take your boating experience to the next level. Boaters today can download apps to help them log their trips, download nautical charts, reserve a slip, and even learn to tie essential boating knots. We have reviewed many of the apps on the market today and are sharing our best boating and fishing apps.
Choosing the Right Lighting For Your Dock
Choosing the Right Lighting For Your Dock
Dock lights not only help give your dock the right look but also go a long way to ensure you, your guests and your property remain safe and secure. We've assembled a list of the best dock lighting options to help you find the perfect solution for your dock.
Best Anchor Rode Accessories to Make Anchoring Easier
Best Anchor Rode Accessories to Make Anchoring Easier
Anchoring with inadequate ground tackle is not only unsafe but can also make setting anchor a painstaking and arduous process. Luckily there are a number of solutions available to help simplify the process and to help keep you and your craft safe. The three main components of your anchor rode are the anchor line, chain, and anchor but additional accessories can be added to customize your system for your specific needs to help make dropping anchor a snap.
2020 Holiday Gift Guide - 15 Best Boating Gift Ideas
2020 Holiday Gift Guide - 15 Best Boating Gift Ideas
It's that time of the year again! Are you having troubles finding that perfect gift for your boating enthusiast? Never fear, we have assembled 15 of this years coolest and best gift ideas that will put a smile on any boaters face.
Best DIY Upgrades to Add Comfort and Value to Your Boat
Best DIY Upgrades to Add Comfort and Value to Your Boat
As the weather begins to cool off and the boating season starts to wind down, now is the perfect time to start planning a few DIY upgrades you can perform to improve the comfort factor and value of your boat for seasons to come.
Outboard Boat Engine Won't Start: Common Issues and Fixes
Outboard Boat Engine Won't Start: Common Issues and Fixes
Oh no! You go to crank your outboard only to realize it won't start. Don't fret - by following these common outboard problems and fixes you'll be able to identify and resolve the issue in no time.
We use cookies on Anchoring.com. By using our website, you're agreeing to the collection of data as described in our Privacy Policy. Learn more
Accept