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Boat Fenders & Buoys: The Changing Tide

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Boat fenders are unsung heroes. They are the first and last line of defense against the unrelenting forces of nature, humans, and Newtonian Physics. And, for a relatively small investment in the grand scheme of things, they work wonders to keep our boats from a great deal of harm, and thus our wallets from a great deal of unwanted expenses in repairs.

Did You Know?

Macramé was a textile-making process developed in the 13th century that proved to be so durable, many seafaring nations quickly adopted it. Sailors often passed the long hours at sea by using macramé to create complex and hardy rope fenders. The down side? The rough material surely ravaged their hands. Also, the rope’s high absorbency made these fenders ridiculously heavy when water-laden.

However, before going any further, let’s address the giant inflatable vinyl fender in the room. Whether this is your first time learning about boat fenders or you already know exactly what you like and need for your boat, you may benefit from this brief fender history lesson.

Large Macrame Boat Fender As it stands now, inflatable vinyl boat fenders and buoys are probably the most popular and abundant type out there, and for good reason. While there are still other options available for a lower price, such as foam or hard plastic, they have significant weaknesses… namely structural integrity. Inflatable vinyl boat fenders, on the other hand, can be inflated or deflated as needed, they are tough and durable, and outperform the other types of fenders as easily as smartphones outperform landlines, (Landline? What’s a landline?). Sure, there are those who will inevitably argue for all that is old and vintage, but when it comes to protecting my boat, give me the best and most advanced technology every time.

With that little bit of history out of the way, let’s take a quick look at some of the best boat fenders for smaller to medium sized recreational boats.

    Polyform G Series Boat Fenders
  • Polyform G Series Boat Fender is ideal when it comes to mooring because of its one piece construction, durable even walls, twin-eye design, and molded ribs. It’s so versatile that it is available for boats smaller than 10’ long and boats up to 40’ long.
  • Taylor Made Hull Gard Boat Fender fits a wide range of boats ranging from 10’ long up to 50’ long. They are perfect for normal to light recreational use. The twin eye design gives it that standard versatility while the unique oval shape minimizes roll.
  • Polyform HTM Series Boat Fender Polyform HTM Boat Fenders have a “hole through middle” (HTM) design that makes these fenders a dream come true when often switching between fixed docks and floating docks. The whole through the middle allows you to easily hang them vertically at a floating dock or just as easily horizontally when at a fixed dock. They work best for boats between 20’ up to 50’ long.
  • Taylor Made Big B Boat Fenders are made for medium to heavy recreational use and range between 20’ long boats up to 60’ long boats. The center tube design also allows for convenient switching between vertical and horizontal hanging.

Are there any types of boat fenders that I missed? Please feel free to share. I’ll even allow you to share if you’re into those old vintage types. Or, do you have questions? This is a great place to ask. Also, you may be interested to know that we at SavvyBoater have put together a fender and buoy help guide to answer some of the most common questions.

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