Boat Bumpers: The Incredibly Simple Way to Protect Your Boat

If you own a boat, then you know how important it is to keep it in good condition. But did you know that one of the best ways to protect your boat is to invest in a set of boat bumpers? 

Boat bumpers  are an easy way to keep your boat safe from damaging bumps and scrapes. And in this blog, we'll tell you everything you need to know about them.

We’ll discuss everything you need to know, from the types of boat bumpers available to how to properly install them. We'll also explain why they're so important and how they can help you avoid costly repairs. 

What are Boat Bumpers?

Boat bumpers are shock-absorbing devices designed to protect your boat from damage as it rubs up against docks, other boats, or any other solid object. They're usually made of foam, rubber, or other shock-resistant materials and can be attached to the side of your boat in several different ways.

Boat bumpers are vital to keeping your boat safe and in good condition. They can help prevent scratches, dents, and other types of damage that can occur when your boat rubs up against something. 

If you're not sure if you need boat bumpers, think about how often your boat comes cruising quickly to the dock. If you think there's a chance of damage that could cost you hundreds of dollars to repair, it's probably a good idea to get some bumpers.

Types of Boat Bumpers

Boat bumpers are categorized with regard to the material they are made of. The most common materials are rubber, foam, PVC, and vinyl. 

Rubber 

This is the most common type of boat bumper material. Made of recycled tires, this material is very strong and can withstand high impacts. It is also UV resistant and will not fade in the sun. 

Foam

Boat bumpers can also be made of closed-cell foam. It is light and also very affordable. However, foam will discolor and wear over time. Foam bumpers are perfect for small boats' side protection.

PVC

This type of boat bumper is made of PVC polymer. It is strong, and it will not rot. It is also UV and sea salt resistant and is very affordable. Heavy-duty PVC is great for large vessel-side protection.

Vinyl

Vinyl is also a great material for boat bumpers. It is strong and is known for lasting a long time without discoloring. Vinyl bumpers can be installed in vessel corners or piling for protection.

Sizing Boat Bumpers

Before installing boat bumpers, you first need to select the right size for your boat. A good way to determine the right size is to consult a boat bumpers chart. 

These charts typically take into account the length and width of your boat and the type of water you'll be using it in.

When choosing a boat bumper, it's important to err on the side of caution. It's better to have a bigger bumper than one that's too small.

That said, you can still get boat bumpers customized for your boat's dimensions. This ensures that they will provide the best possible protection for your boat. 

Installing Boat Bumpers

Here’s a quick overview of how to install boat bumpers:

If the boat bumpers you are installing don't have a rope, you first need to install one.

You can't go wrong with the bowline knot when you want to tie a jute rope to a boat bumper. This knot is simple to tie and is very strong, making it perfect for holding your boat in place.

To tie a bowline knot, start by making a loop in the rope. Then, run the rope's end through the loop and around the bumper. 

After attaching the jute rope to the bumper, it's time to attach the bumper to your boat. You need to tie a clove hitch knot to secure the bumper's rope to the boat.  

To tie a clove hitch knot:

  • Cross the rope over the top of the handle or bowline, and then bring it back under the handle.
  • Wrap the rope around the handle or bowline once more, and then bring it back up over the top. 
  • Take the rope's end and put it through the loop you've created. 
  • Finally, pull the rope's end tight.

If you have cleats installed on your boat, you can tie the boat bumpers on the cleats using an 8-knot. 

Please note: You want your boat bumpers to contact your boat's rubber rail line to effectively protect your boat while docking. 

How to Maintain and Store your Boat Bumpers 

Your boat bumpers are an important part of your vessel and need to be maintained and stored properly to ensure their longevity. Here are a few tips on how to care for your boat bumpers:

  • Rinse them off with fresh soapy water after each use to remove salt, dirt, and debris.
  • Use washable boat bumpers covers to keep the bumpers protected. 
  • Inspect them regularly for cracks, splits, or other damage. If you notice any damage, replace the damaged bumper.
  • Store them in racks and in a dry place when not in use.
  • Store boat bumpers in a cool, dark place to prevent them from fading.
  • Apply a coat of protectant to prevent UV damage during use. 

By following these simple tips, you can extend the life of your boat bumpers and keep them looking new for years to come.

FAQs

What's the difference between a boat fender and a bumper?

Although these two terms are used interchangeably in the nautical field, fenders are mainly used for navigating the waters, whereas bumpers are used for docking.

How many bumpers do you need for a boat?

You should have two to four fenders per side. This will give you enough protection from other boats and docks.

Of course, you'll also want to consider the size of your boat. For example, if you have a larger boat, you may want to add two fenders per side. 

But 2-4 fenders per side will be sufficient if you have a small or standard-sized boat. 

Do boat bumpers float?

Boat bumpers are designed to protect a boat from damage when it bumps into docks, other boats, or objects in the water. They are not designed to float and should not be used as floatation devices.

How long do boat bumpers last?

The average lifespan of good boat bumpers is about 5- 10 years. But materials like rubber and foam may only last a few years before significantly denting and cracking and needing to be replaced. 

A warranty would come in handy when you need to replace your boat bumpers, so consider this before making your purchasing decision.