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How to use Boat Fenders

how to use boat fenders

Boat fenders are an essential piece of equipment for any vessel, large or small. They help protect your boat from damage caused by impact with other boats, docks, piers, or objects in the water.

Most boat fenders are designed to be attached to your vessel using rope or bungee cord. This allows you to adjust the position of the fender as needed and makes it easy to remove them when they’re not needed.

How to use Your Boat Fenders?

Step 1: Pick a Marine-Grade Rope

My advice is always to use marine-grade rope or cord for attaching fenders. The regular rope is likely to rot or deteriorate quickly when exposed to saltwater.

Also, it is highly advisable to pick the fender with the right size for your boat so it can handle the impact.

Step 2: Choose a Suitable Place

It is not ideal to just tie your fenders anywhere. Therefore, make sure to check the waterline and seek a good place.

Step 3: Thread and Tie the Rope

  • When attaching fenders, start by threading the rope or cord through the eyelet at the top of the fender
  • Then, tie a loop at the end of the line, and secure it to a cleat or other sturdy object on your boat
  • You can also use a fender board to help distribute the force of impact over a larger area

Step 4: Adjust Until it is Stable

To adjust the position of a fender, simply loosen or tighten the line until it is in the desired location.

Boat fenders should be stored in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight when not in use. This will help extend their lifespan and prevent them from becoming damaged or brittle.

Here are Some Tips on How to Use Boat Fenders:

  • Place the fenders on the side of the boat that will be impacted in a collision. This will help protect the hull and other parts of the boat from damage
  • Make sure the fenders are properly inflated. An underinflated fender will not provide enough protection in a collision
  • Position the fenders at least six inches away from the boat’s hull. This will help prevent the fenders from becoming damaged in a collision
  • Secure the fenders to the boat using lines or straps. This will prevent the fenders from moving around or becoming dislodged in a collision
  • Inspect the fenders regularly to ensure they are in good condition and properly inflated. Replace any damaged or deflated fenders as soon as possible
  • It is also important to remember that boat fenders are not a substitute for proper navigation and lookout practices. Always be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to avoid collisions

With the right preparation and use of boat fenders, you can help protect your boat from damage and keep everyone on board safe.

Frequently Askes Questions

how to choose boat fenders

How to Choose Boat Fenders?

There are various types of boat fenders available, made from a range of materials.

Pick the Right Size

The most crucial factor to consider when choosing fenders is the size and weight of your boat.

Fenders are required to withstand the impact without breaking or becoming dislodged. They should also be the right size to provide adequate coverage and protection.

Small boats can get by with just a few fenders, while larger vessels may require a dozen or more.

It’s important to place fenders strategically around your boat, considering the location of cleats, docks, and other potential hazards. When in doubt, it’s better to have too many fenders than not enough.

Pick a Rugged Fender

There are a few different types of materials that fenders can be made out of rubber, foam, or vinyl.

Rubber fenders are generally more durable than the other two options, but they can also be more expensive. So, if you have a large boat, you should consider getting these fenders to ensure safety.

On the other hand, foam fenders are available at a lower price than rubber but may not last as long. But they are still more durable than Vinyl designs, which is the most affordable option, perfect for small boats.

Choose a Bight Color

Most fenders come in a few different colors, so you can choose the one that best matches your boat. You may also want to choose a bright color so that it is more visible to other boats and docks.

Determine the Budget

Fenders can range in price from around $10 to $200 depending on the size, material, and brand. Make sure to consider how much you want to spend before making your purchase.

What Size Boat Fenders do I need?

Choosing the size of boat fenders, you will need several factors. Those criteria include the size and type of your boat, the water conditions you typically encounter, and your personal preferences.

That being said, there are some general guidelines you can follow when selecting boat fenders.Ư

  • Most experts recommend using at least two fenders for boats up to 30 feet long and four or more fenders for boats longer than 30 feet
  • Additionally, it is generally advisable to use larger fenders (e.g., 8-inch diameter) in rough water conditions or when docking in strong currents

Of course, the best way to determine what size boat fenders will work best for you is to experiment and see what works best in your specific situation.

  • For a small boat, you’ll need two boat fenders that are at least 18 inches long
  • For a medium-sized boat, you’ll need two fenders that are at least 24 inches long
  • And for a large boat, you’ll need two fenders that are at least 30 inches long

If you’re not sure what size boat fenders you need, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and get ones that are too big rather than too small.

That way, you can be sure your boat will be well-protected against any bumps or scrapes.

When Should you Put Fenders on Your Boat?

  • If you are going to be docking your boat, it is always a good idea to have fenders on hand. Fenders help protect your boat from bumps and scrapes when tying up
  • You can also use fenders to keep your boat off of the dock itself, which can help prevent hull damage. It is a good idea to have at least two fenders per side of your boat
  • You may also want to use fenders if you anchor near other boats. This can help prevent your boat from bumping into theirs and causing damage
  • Fenders can also provide extra protection if there is bad weather or waves
  • It is also good to have fenders on your boat whenever you are near other boats. Fenders can help prevent damage and keep everybody safe

How to Tie a Rope to a Boat Fender?

There are a few different ways to tie a rope to a boat fender.

  • The easiest way is to use a clove hitch
  • Another way is to use a bowline knot
  • A third way is to use a sheet bend

How to Clean Boat Fenders?

Boat fenders can get dirty over time, especially if left outside.

  • To clean your boat fenders, you will need to rinse them off with fresh water and scrub them with a soft brush
  • You can also use a mild soap if the fenders are particularly dirty
  • Once you have rinsed and scrubbed the fenders, rinse them again with fresh water to remove any soap residue
  • Then, dry the fenders off with a soft cloth or let them dry under the sunlight

How Often Should you Replace Boat Fenders?

Boat fenders should be replaced every few years or as needed. If they are damaged or cracked, they should be replaced immediately.


Boat fenders are an essential part of boat safety. They help protect your boat from bumps and scratches when docking or anchoring. By following the tips in this article, you can make sure that your fenders do their job and keep your boat safe.

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