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Boat Fenders - Reviews & Guides For 2020

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Boat Fenders buying guide

Looking for an inexpensive way to protect your boat from getting damaged? Don't worry. Boat fenders are here to the rescue.

They protect your vessel from general wear and tear and save the body from critical damages in case unfortunate accidents.

Since there are many boat fenders available in the market, you need to look for some crucial features to pick the best one.

To find what features you should look for before purchasing one, you would have to browse innumerable and irrelevant pages, which is tiring. To ease your task and help you find the excellent fenders for your boat, we have shown up with this buying guide.

This guide contains all the relevant information about the fenders and will help you understand their importance in an effortless manner.

Hence, without wasting any time, let's dive deep into the world of these essential boat accessories and grab the best match.

What are Boat Fenders, and why should you buy them?

While boats are exceptionally fascinating to move on in the calm water and carry out activities like fishing, there is more complexity than you see.

When in water, your boat might hit rocks on the sides or any other boat in the docking station. This sudden hit and the strong impact can damage your boat that can cost you heavily.

All the boat owners know how expensive it is to repair their boats, so they take no chance and prevent potential damage. Another threat to your boat is present while securing it to the dock.

There are other boats and ships present on which you can bump and damage both the water vessels. To protect your boat and keep it damage-free, boat fenders are excellent choices.

These great boat accessories are the crucial ones on board that protect your boat from the dents and dings and keep it as new forever.

These structures act as a protective barrier between your boat's hull and another object that can damage it. Since repairing your boat is an expensive affair, investing in these barriers is worthwhile.

They are made of different shock-absorbing materials and absorb the strong impact when your water vessel collides with another solid structure.

Using them will prevent damages that may occur on your boat and won't damage another vessel, and you will be safe from compensating for the damages done.

Types of Boat Fenders

A boat is a small water vessel where there is space crunch but a huge requirement of protection. Finding the apt type of this essential boat equipment is tricky, and there are certain things that you should pay attention to.

Boat fenders are available in different shapes and sizes to meet all types of water vessels' requirements. The perfect choice will provide more protection against all the damages.

Hence, before you pick the wrong one, let's look at the different types available and which one is right for you.

  1. Ball Fenders

These ball-shaped structures are ideal for large boats because they can withstand a powerful impact and don't get crushed.

When inflated and hanged onto your boat, they occupy more space and thus need a boat with more storage capacity.

These ball fenders are constructed using PVC and have a single eyelet to attach them to the boat.

They are used mostly when you are steering the boat through narrow spaces and securing or getting out of the docking station. They are incredibly versatile and help to mark your boat's anchor's location.

  1. Long Fenders

The other name for these long fenders is 'walking fenders.' They are the most common type of fenders which you will find in many boats. They provide you the ease of use and can be placed in both ways, vertically or horizontally.

You can place them on the cleats, railings, or lifelines to get better protection against scratches and dents. However, the desired place of attachment entirely depends on the size of your water vessels.

There are two variants of the long fenders that are available in the market. One variant features a long cylindrical body with two eyelets on either side.

The other variant has a cord in the center. The second design is more popular because it can be used in situations where more roll is required, like docking.

  1. Flat fenders and cushion fenders

If you want to invest in worthy fenders that provide you multiple benefits, flat or cushion fenders are the way to go. These fenders offer excellent shielding to the boats and can be effortlessly stored anywhere.

They are attached to the boat's cranes, slipways, or locks and are slip-resistant. They can be used for multiple applications and are highly versatile.

These fenders are made of foam, which makes them incredibly lightweight, but they are not suitable to be used when the heavy wind is blowing.

Being lightweight, these cushion fenders have the risk of flying away. Besides, they aren't as durable as the PVC fenders, which last for a longer duration.

  1. Rolling and Pole Fenders

If you want to save space on board but want to take many more fenders with you for extra support, nothing can be better than pole fenders. These fenders are long and slender in shape and, thus, don't occupy much space.

These fenders can be used effortlessly and don't take much time to get attached and set to work.

Rolling fenders, on the other hand, are available in different forms. All the versions are manufactured, keeping in mind your safety and convenience.

Things to deem about while selecting appropriate Boat Fenders

Size

The boat's weight and its length affect the size of the fenders and the number required. The mooring situation also affects the fenders' size as in calm water; you don't need large and multiple fenders. Moderately statured fenders are suitable for mooring in these conditions.

On the other hand, when the water condition is harsh, you need to opt for large and many fenders. The size requirement in these conditions is larger than your boat's length and weight.

Since a large boat will rock more on the high waves and there will be more chances to hit an obstacle, fenders larger than your boat are essential. They will provide more protection to your boat and prevent it from damages.

The golden rule that the boat owners follow to pick these boat fenders' right size is that a cylindrical fender with a diameter of 1 inch should be used in every 5 feet's distance across the boat's length.

If you are using a ball fender, ensure that the diameter of the ball is 2 inches. However, you can also opt for the large ones to get more protection.

But don't go under and overboard with the size because a small size won't be much adequate, and a too-large one will hinder the boat's movement.

Number and Placement

To get the most out of these fenders and deploy them appropriately, you need to understand the number and placement rule. If not placed in the correct position, you might put your life in danger.

Whenever you are heading towards these boat fenders' placement, remember to place them at every 10 feet of the waterline. The minimum fenders used in any boat are three, but it is recommended that you don't go with the minimum requirement.

Instead, include several of them to ensure more protection against the damages. So, if you have a 20 feet longboat, you should use three fenders, and if you own a 40 feet longboat, four fenders are the minimum requirement.

If you are using your boat for activities other than rafting, place one of the fenders at the maximum beam. If you are using your boat for rafting, putting three fenders at the maximum beam is suggested.

Now that the numbers are specified let's check out the appropriate positioning method of these bumpers. Start with hanging them from the attachment place such that the bottom of the fenders touches the water surface.

After doing so, pull the fenders up an inch or two at maximum and then tie them at the designated place so that they don't move.

Style

There are many styles in which these fenders feature. Let's check them out before we miss the essential aspects of a specific style.

  1. Round fenders

These fenders are ideal for larger powerboats and commercial vessels like merchant ships or commercial fishing boats. These round fenders, mostly orange in colors, are also used as buoys on the low moors for better attachment.

  1. Two eyed cylindrical fenders

These cylindrical fenders have two loops on either end. These loops enable you to hang them in whatever way you want.

You can either tie a loop on one end and hand the cylinder in the vertical position with the other end free or tie both the loops with ropes and place it horizontally.

  1. Transom mounted fenders

The boats' extension on which you step to get on board after swimming is known as the swim step. This swim step is protected from potential damages and tear and wear using transom-mounted fenders.

  1. Rafting cushions

These cushions are specially designed for rafting boats, which move faster compared to ordinary boats. There are two rows of holes present in the center of these cushions, which aid while tying the rafting boat with the pilings.

They have a large surface area, are versatile because of the multiple mounting options, and they don't roll up while being used.

  1. Low freeboard Fenders

These fenders are hanged inwards by attaching them to the boat's hull. You should opt for their small size if you are using a bass fishing boat or a ski boat. Simultaneously, a larger size is preferred to prevent your boat from riding up when high waves strike.

  1. Tuff end fenders

These fenders have large diameters and are suitable for rugged and heavy-duty use. They are ideal for boats that have deep-V hulls, especially those for commercial use. These fenders can be inflated effortlessly using an ordinary pump.

  1. V-shaped freedom fenders

V-shaped freedom fenders are the best fenders to be used on the pilings because they stay on the place irrespective of the boat's movements. These bumpers can be used on any water vessel.

  1. Pontoon fenders

These fenders are used on pontoon boats to shield their aluminum fencing, which is delicate and gets damaged in no time. Also, they protect the corners and prevent them from wear and tear.

Color

Boat fenders are available in all the colors to match your taste and preference. However, the color is not a significant aspect of your fenders, but it helps in many ways. Hence, opting for the correct color is vital.

If you wonder which color you should prefer while boating, we would suggest that you opt for the darker colors instead of the lighter shades. The reason is that dark colors don't look dirty even after being used, whereas the lighter shades lose their shine and become dull.

Next, you should opt for a color to help you distinguish your anchor from others. Since many fenders are also used as the anchor buoys, opting for the correct color makes identification effortless, and you can easily find your boat amongst all others.

The last one is your preference. If you want to look for something that matches or gels well with your boat's color, you can always search for such shades and get one who gives it a unique appearance.

Cleaning

After every ride, your fenders need a thorough cleaning to look like they have been newly purchased.

The rough treatment they experience and the abrasions and dirt on them accumulate due to brushing against the dirty nearby yachts, or the docking stations have to be removed.

Cleaning the fenders is mandatory during the boating season and before you store them for the upcoming season. You should invest in quality cleaning products to keep your fenders in the right condition.

The products for cleaning the fenders are strong and may damage your skin and eye. Hence, it is recommended that you clean your fenders using hand gloves and protective glasses to shield your eyes from the splashes.

If your fenders are too dirty, it is suggested that you first clean the superficial dirt using mild soap and water and then use the cleaning solutions for deep cleaning.

Deep cleaning ensures that your essential boat bumpers stay free from the dirt, which may eat up their material and reduce their durability. So, clean your fenders in the best possible way to enhance their life span and durability.

Storing

Safety is paramount while you are in the middle of the water and have no other helping hand around. You need to be self-sufficient to tackle everything that comes your way and fight it to return home safely.

Boat fenders are the essential boat equipment that protects you and your boat from all the forthcoming damages.

But, storing them is not an easy task as they occupy huge space since safety is crucial and cannot be compromised while on a boat, you have to keep several of them in-store if you need more.

Also, other essentials need to be stored onboard; you need to find another appropriate place for storing these fenders. The railings and the deck of your boat lend an adequate amount of space for storing these fenders.

Besides, you can also look for fender baskets to install it on your boat's railings or deck and then store these fenders there. These baskets are made of stainless steel and hence are rust and corrosion-resistant.

You can also use your water vessel's stern to store these fenders. At this place, they won't hinder the space that you will get to move around.

In case the deck has no storage space and the fenders have to be kept somewhere else, you can always rely on your vessel's back storage area or the cabin.

Accessories

These fenders are already so efficient in their work, but still, some bells and whistles are required to enhance their performance and lifespan even further. These accessories have some use on all the boats, and let's check out what they offer us.

  1. Fender covers

These covers keep the fenders clean and prevent dirt accumulation, which may harm its material and reduce its lifespan.

You can customize these covers according to your taste and provide it an identity. You can embroider your boat's name on it or get it color-coordinated with your boat or the fenders.

  1. Fender racks

These racks enable you to store fenders on the lifeline stanchion. When there is an emergency, these fenders stacked in an aligned way on the frame can be effortlessly deployed without any unnecessary hassle.

  1. Hand operated fender pumps

These pumps offer you the convenience to inflate your fenders anytime and maintain the pressure inside. Since there won't be any pumping station in the middle of the sea, these pumps will come in handy and help you keep them in working conditions.

  1. Fender suspenders

The fender suspenders like hangers, suction cups, lifeline clips, straps, cleats, etc. help you attach these fenders anywhere you feel convenient. These suspenders are super easy to use and secure the fenders firmly to your boat.

Where and How To Attach Boat Fenders?

The essential part while using boat fenders is to attach them. But how will you know where and how to connect these fenders? Don't worry! We are here to help you. Refer to the section below and get your job done!

Where to attach my fenders?

The place where you will attach your fenders will determine how much protected your boat will be throughout the journey. Generally, these fenders are attached either to the railing or are clamped on to some surface.

However, you can hang your fenders anywhere you feel the chances of getting dents or scratches prevail.

If you feel that your fenders will experience heavy loads while being used, you can clamp them on the foot rails or a winch for better support.

Besides, emphasize the positioning of your bumper; otherwise, it will rub against the hull and damage it by causing abrasions. The best position of hanging the fenders is on the open side so that your boat stays safe from other boats and the docking station while mooring.

How to attach my fenders?

The best way to attach your fenders to any surface is by hanging them with their valves facing down. The reason is that due to high pressure, these fenders can burst, but hardly they do. But to ensure safety, it is recommended to keep them facing down.

Tie them to the desired place with a slip knot using a clove hitch. A slip knot is the standard type of knot amongst sailors because they use it while tying objects. Besides, using slip knots fastens the fender deploying process, and you get all your fenders secured to your boat in no time.

Another attaching method for deploying your fenders for a long time and reducing the abrasion caused is by using two half hitches in conjugation with the clove hitch. This combination supports the finders for long so that your boat returns safely to the dock.

FAQs

  1. How does the product work?

The boat fender protects your boat from getting damaged by the dock, other ships, and vessels. They have high shock absorbent properties. They absorb the shock and prevent it from entering the hull of your boat.

The cost of making repairs on your boat can be expensive as compared to the cost invested in the fenders. So, pin down the best model and arm your boat with fenders to add an extra layer of protection.

  1. How many fenders should I add to my boat?

This depends on the length of your vessel. Typically, one fender is required for every 10 feet length of the boat. However, having more than that in the same length will only add more protection and keep your boat safe.

  1. How should I clean the fenders?

Use a mild detergent solution to clean the dirt and stains. Never use strong cleaners as they can damage the product. Clean gently and avoid harsh scrubbing.

Final Verdict

Boat fenders provide a simple and budget-friendly way to protect your favorite boat. With this guide, you can quickly analyze the pointers and funnel down the best model.

Arm your boat with elite fenders and explore different areas of the world safely.

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