Our Big Guide to Dock Bumpers and Fenders

Dock bumpers and fenders are important pieces of equipment for those who own boats. These tools work by protecting your boat from the dock and collisions that might otherwise cause the boat some damage. In this guide, we will look at everything you need to know about dock bumpers and fenders for your peace of mind, including the types, DIY options, and how to use them the right way. 

Understanding Dock Bumpers and Fenders

What Are Dock Bumpers?

Dock bumpers are basically like special cushions that guard your boat from damage by absorbing the shock if the boat hits something or something hits it. They are made from shock-absorbing materials like rubber or foam and come in many shapes and sizes to be able to fit the sides of the boat.  

Types of Dock Bumpers

There are a couple of types of dock bumpers that you may need to keep your boat completely safe:

  1. Vertical Boat Dock Bumpers: This variety are tall, rectangular bumpers that give great protection to the side of your boat. They really come in handy when you are in areas with frequent tidal changes.
  2. Dock Corner Fenders: These types of fenders go on the corners of docks and piers to protect the boat and the structure from damage. They often look triangular. 
  3. DIY Boat Dock Bumpers: In a pinch, someone can craft a DIY boat dock bumper to protect their boat if one of yours breaks or you are in a place where you can’t buy one. People craft these from old tires or foam padding. 

What Type of Dock Bumper Should You Use?

What dock bumper you use will depend on the size and type of your boat, the type of dock used, or the weather conditions. If you have a big boat or one that weighs a lot, or if you find yourself in a windy or choppy environment, the dock bumpers and fenders you need will be larger and heavier. The larger and heavier the bumpers are, the more protection you’ll get from them. 

However, if you have a smaller, lightweight boat or only find yourself in calm waters often, you may get away with smaller or lighter dock bumpers and fenders. 

How to Choose the Right Dock Bumpers and Fenders

There are three things to consider when choosing the right dock bumpers and fenders for you and your boat:

  • Size: The size of the dock bumpers should be appropriate for how much of the dock or boat they cover. 
  • Material: Dock bumpers and fenders can be made from plastic, rubber, or foam. Foam is the cheapest material but it isn’t as durable as the others. Plastic is the most expensive option, but it may save your boat and pocket in the long run. 
  • Shape: There are many shapes you can purchase for a dock bumper and fender. These shapes include being round, cylindrical, and D-shaped. The shape you chose should be right for your boat; if you’re unsure, bring along a picture or your boat’s specs to a store and ask an associate. 

How to Use Boat Bumpers Effectively

Once you have chosen your boat bumper, you must secure it the right way to protect your boat: 

Step 1 Proper Placement: Place your bumpers in areas that are most likely to contact the dock or other moving objects like boats. 

Step 2 Secure Attachment: Make sure the bumper is secured correctly and won’t fall off. If the bumper isn’t on the right way, it can cause further damage down the line. 

Step 3 Adequate Coverage: Once the bumper is attached, step back and make sure it is really covering every vulnerable part of the boat, such as the sides, corners, and stern. 

DIY Dock Bumpers

If you’re in a pinch and need a DIY dock bumper, you can easily create one with a few bits of material you might have on hand. It will not be as secure or safe as buying from a trusted manufacturer, but it may do in calmer waters as you wait on your order or if you’re stuck out at sea.

1.Materials Needed:

  • Foam padding or old tires
  • Rope or straps for attachment
  • A sharp knife or saw

2.Cut the Material: Once you have the material you want, you can cut it into the right size to fit your boat.

3.Attach the Rope or Straps: Attach rope or straps to the bumper and make sure they are on tightly. 

4.Position and Secure: Now place the bumpers along the sides of your boat or anywhere else that needs protection. Fasten them in place as best as you can. 

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Always follow safe boating practices and use the appropriate safety equipment while docking your boat.

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