Protect Your Boat and Dock with Bumpers

Owning a boat is a large investment and one that doesn’t end after the vessel is purchased. In addition to registration, fuel and a slip to dock the boat, every boat will require ongoing maintenance to keep it in top shape. Fortunately, there are a handful of ways to reduce wear and tear on your boat and avoid accidental damage. One of the most important and easy to implement are dock bumpers or fenders; pad cushions that protect boats against contact with a dock.

Dock bumpers are made of many different materials and products, from old tires to out-of-service fire hoses. One particular material well-suited for this marine application is closed-cell foam, and these different materials can be used in a number of fashions, from wrapping a sheet of rubber around a piling or adhering a polyethylene pillow cylinder to the edge of a dock for a padded bumper.

Closed-cell foam materials excel as protective dock padding because they are water resistant as well as shock absorbing, the two most important characteristics a material needs for this application. Materials like minicell foam are nontoxic, so there’s no need for concern over leeching chemicals into a body of water. Bumpers can be as basic as you want as well. Some people find they get all the protection they need from attaching pool noodle toys to their docks.

Ultimately, a minor investment in padding can result in major savings. By reducing the possibility of damage to a boat at its dock, whether from wakes, operator error or tides, bumpers are well worth it when you consider the costs of repairing hulls, or even the cost of repairing a damaged dock.