The Why and How of Fender Boards

Fender Boards work to protect your boat.

Here is the why and how of Fender Boards. Every so often we are asked to dig a little deeper in our explanations, keeping the new boat owner in mind. So, check out the photos and this how-to video and let us know how we did….Let us know how this fender board design works for you.

Fenders come in many shapes and sizes to do a variety of different jobs. Mainly, a fender should protect our boat’s hull from rubbing up against a harder and potentially damaging surface. Simple, right?

Why are Fender Boards needed?

Fender Boards are used to protect your boat from scraping against pilings at a fixed dock marina. At a floating dock the fender compresses directly between the boat hull and the floating dock. Not so with a fixed dock where the pilings are outside the dock footprint. As your boat moves with the wind and tide, the traditional barrel fenders and ball fenders bounce around the pilings and do not protect your boat well. Sometimes the fenders miss their target completely and your hull can lay directly against a rough dock piling. BTW a fixed dock is usually made of wood and pilings although we sometimes see concrete which is even tougher on your hull.

How Do Fender Boards work?

Best idea is to design a system. Build a Fender Board that ties together with the barrel fenders making a system to protect your boat. Check out these photos then view our video. Your boat will move forward and aft and up and down with wind and tide. Because of this movement you need a larger area of contact to protect your boat. Plain old barrel fenders without the fender boards will not stay in the right place against your hull.

Where to buy them?

Well, you don’t buy them… ya gotta make ’em.

The concept is simple. Place two or more barrel fenders against your hull and secure to your boat. Next, take a board of the appropriate length to straddle the piling that protrudes out from the dock or pier. The board should have one hole on each end to insert a line and then tie each line securely to your boat. The fender board will lie against the piling and now the fenders will stay put and protect your boat from the board and the piling.

How-To make your own

A fender board can be made in many sizes and even different materials. In fact, most all those we have seen are homemade from wood with consideration for where you will stow it aboard your boat when it is not in use. This video and the photos below will give you a great start to making your own.

Some boaters prefer PVC to match a more modern boat. Be careful to use a strong enough material whether wood, PVC or something else we have not thought of yet. You may even consider if you have space in the engine room to store two, one fender board for each side of your boat.

Learn About Docking and More

Join us at a Cruising 101 FUNdamentals seminar. We will teach you about lines and knots, trip planning and provisioning and what to look for in the perfect boat for you. We will coach you as you prepare you and your mate, learning to work together as an effective team. Or, Ask Captain Chris to come aboard your new boat. 772-205-1859

We will help build your cruising confidence whether docking, anchoring or navigating on the adventure of a lifetime. And now you know the Why and How of Fender Boards. don’t forget to watch this Fender Board HOW-TO VIDEO on our YouTube channel. Ask Captain Chris!