Buying a boat is one of the largest investments you can make, and one that doesn’t end after the final payment is made. Besides the obvious fuel, registration and slip costs, every boat requires maintenance to keep it running like new. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce the wear and tear on a boat and avoid accidental damage. One of these steps is the addition of dock bumpers or fenders; pad cushions that protect boats against contact with a dock.
Dock bumpers can be made in many different ways from many kinds of materials, from old tires to out of service fire hose. One particular material that works well in this marine application is closed-cell foam. With different varieties of this material able to be used in many fashions, from wrapping a foam rubber mat around a piling or adhering a polyethylene rubber cylinder to the edge of a dock for a padded bumper, protecting a boat is easy.
Closed-cell foam materials make for superb protective dock padding due to their water resistance and shock absorption, the two most important qualities a material needs to perform well in this job. Many foams, like closed-cell minicell, are nontoxic which eliminates the worry over chemicals leeching into a body of water. Bumpers don’t need to be complicated or fancy to get the job done either. Some people create more than adequate protection from materials as basic as pool noodles sawn in half.
The reason these minor investments are so important is that they can prevent huge damage costs to your largest investment: the boat. By reducing the potential of harm to a boat from the dock, wakes or operator error, dock bumpers are well worth implementing, especially considering the cost of repairing hulls or docks themselves.