When it comes to protecting the sides of boats, fenders are essential. In Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, ample boating opportunities are available between the coast and inland lakes. Fenders are crucial whether you store a boat dockside at a marina or trailer the vessel to and from your home. Fenders come in multiple sizes to suit vessels of varying lengths. Here is what you need to know about boat fenders. 

What Do Fenders Do On A Boat

A fender is an inflatable device that protects the vessel’s hull when docked or tied up with other watercraft. The fender acts as a cushion to help prevent scratches and dings as the boat contacts the dock while maneuvering or secured by dock lines. 

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for boat owners to avoid using fenders. Without the use of fenders, dock rash occurs. Dock rash is markings along the sides of the hull in which it has made contact with the dock. The rash is quickly apparent but avoidable by purchasing and utilizing fenders. 

When Should You Put Fenders On Your Boat

Never ask the question of when you should put fenders on your boat. Fenders must always be aboard a boat when it is in operation. 

When purchasing a boat, fenders must be just below safety gear on the list of essential supplies. Fenders are available for purchase at marine stores in addition to big box stores, including Walmart and Dicks Sporting Goods. Remember, don’t leave the fenders in the tow vehicle. Immediately stow them in onboard hatches to avoid leaving them behind. 

How Many Fenders Should A Boat Have

A multitude of factors influences the number of fenders required. Size is the most crucial factor. The bigger the vessel, the greater the number of fenders necessary to protect the vessel’s hull. 

Remember, butting fenders side to side is unnecessary because the width holds the boat well away from the dock. However, vessels pivoting while maneuvering into a slip require proper fender placement. Ensure no portion of the hull comes in contact with the dock by placing the correct number of fenders over the side. 

A send critical factor is winds, currents, and wake. Marinas are prone to strong winds, and severe boat wakes. Whether docking in strong currents, wind, large wakes, or a combination of the three, add fenders as necessary to avoid any portion of the hull from making contact with the dock. 

What Is Inside A Boat Fender

Think of a boat fender as a balloon. The interior of the cushioning device is filled with air to act as a shock absorber rather than allowing the vessel to slam hard against the dock, which results in cracking or scratching. Fenders absorb energy to prevent the force from being applied directly against the hull. 

How Do You Attach Boat Fenders To A Boat

Fenders are attached to watercraft in a multitude of fashions. Here are the most common techniques for hanging fenders. 

Railings

Railings are excellent options when finding a suitable place to hang fenders. Utilize a clove hitch and secure the fender to the railing. Remember to ensure that the fender hangs at the proper height to avoid the hull from contacting the dock. 

Sail Tracks

Sail tracks are likely the most straightforward and user-friendly approach to hanging fenders. Unfortunately, sail tracks are installed on yachts and other vessels of similar size. Secure the fender line to the sail track by tying a bowline. Slide the sail track into the appropriate location and secure it. 

Fender Hangers

There are two forms of hangers designed to secure fenders along the side of the vessel. The first type is movable as they slide into rod holders. Simply lift and move the fender hanger from one-rod holder to the next, depending on the dock. 

Similar to rod holder fender hangers are gunnel mounts. Gunnel mounted fender hangers screw into the vessel and contain an eye which the line attached to the fender passes through. Position the hangers appropriately before permanently installing. 

How Much Do Boat Fenders Cost

The cost is of little importance. Take into account the money forked out purchasing the vessel. Consider fenders to be insurance protecting the money you worked hard to earn. Generally speaking, fenders range between twenty dollars for the average-sized boat to over eight hundred dollars for massive inflatable yacht fenders. 

Know You Know About Fenders

What is most important about fenders is that they are a necessity for boat ownership. Never attempt to secure a vessel to a dock without fenders deployed over the side. Fenders are insurance to help avoid costly repairs to knicks, dings, and scratches, otherwise known as dock rash.