Choosing the correct fenders for your yacht

Written by Sarah Rowland

Last updated: 23/08/2017

Choosing the correct yacht fender system is important in providing protection for yachts and boats of any size. These seemingly small additions are vital to ensure the safekeeping of the yacht when it’s berthed. As such, it’s vital that the fenders you choose are of good quality and placed and secured correctly to prevent any costly damage, or contact with other boats. 

Search for yacht fender suppliers on Yachtingpages.com.

fenders in fender covers on a superyacht

Yachting Pages provides a guide to superyacht fenders, outlining the type and selection of fenders for your vessel, as well as their on-going care and maintenance.

What are yacht fenders and why are they important?

Consider a fender your yacht’s personal bodyguards, as their primary role is to protect the finish of a yacht from damage whilst it’s berthed alongside other yachts, or moored against a dock.

Fundamentally, when used correctly, a fender system acts as a shock absorber that prevents damaging marks and breakages to the side of a yacht, which is often surprising when you consider their size in relation to the yachts they protect!

As captains and crew will know, in the event of engine failure or accidents and oversights on board, fenders give additional protection to the yacht in the event of contact with the dock and other vessels. 

Choosing the best yacht fender for the job

When selecting fenders for a superyacht, you must first consider the type, size, draft, weight and displacement of the yacht, as well as the available space and fixtures for hanging and storing fenders aboard.

You may also need to consider the crew’s ability in safely moving and deploying fenders on board, and more about the typical currents, tidal action and docking facilities where the boat is usually berthed. The outcome of these factors combined will ultimately affect the type of fender or fenders selected to protect the boat.

The different types of superyacht fender

The main types of fenders for luxury yachts and superyachts include:

1. Cylindrical double-eye / sausage fenders

Sausage, or cylindrical double-eye fenders, are elongated, complete with rope tie at either end. These tend to be most popular on board shorter, lighter vessels. When used correctly, these fenders can be secured in a vertical or horizontal position and can be easily stored in racks or lockers on the yacht when not in use.

Larger sausage fenders are available with air foam interiors to provide additional strength, as well as offering more space between the yacht and dock and/or other yachts for increased safety.

2. Cylindrical centre-hole fenders

Cylindrical centre-hole fenders provide more cushioning than a cylindrical double-eye as they have just one centre-point running through the middle, rather than two at either end. Like cylindrical double-eye fenders, they can be used both vertically and horizontally and are good for larger vessels.

3. Round / spherical fenders

Round fenders are known for providing the largest degree of protection for the yacht, due to the distance they create between the vessel and its neighbour or berth. When used on larger yachts, these provide excellent protection when fending against other yachts. However, the downside of round fenders, are due to their shape, as they require more space for safe storage on board.

Round coloured yacht fenders on superyacht dockHybrid yacht fenders on side of superyacht

4. Hybrid fenders

Hybrid fenders are, as the name suggests, a cross between two types of fender - typically cylinrical and round fenders. The diameter of the hybrid fenders allows for more protection, and unlike the round fenders, can be stored more easily on board.

5. Transom fenders

Transom fenders are also available to protect the yacht’s swim platform from damage from water toys and tenders. These are custom-made to fit each yacht’s unique dimensions and storage needs.

6. Bow fenders

Bow fenders are also available to protect the delicate bow of the boat when moored.

How many fenders do you need on your yacht?

When berthing in a marina, it’s recommended that yachts should have at least three fenders on each side, plus one for roving. The standard superyacht will however need many more. Yacht fender specialists and suppliers should be able to advise on the best set up for your yacht. Most can be inflated with a standard pump to the guidelines given by the fender manufacturer.

Anchoring.com explained, "There is a rule of thumb for fender number: Use one fender per 10’ of waterline, with a minimum of three fenders. So a 20' boat would need three fenders and a 40' would need four. At least one fender must be placed at maximum beam, with others distributed fore and aft. When rafting, more fenders are a good idea, three at maximum beam and two – round fenders are best – set fore and aft. Again, more fenders are better than fewer, so I’d advise against meeting only minimum requirements."

Fitting yacht fenders on board

When fitting fenders vertically, always ensure that they are just above the surface of the water and are tied correctly to the relevant rail, stanchion or cleat as low as possible on the yacht. This will help to prevent the fender from swinging in a wide arc and ending up on top of the quay or pontoon as well as preventing abrasion.

Anchoring.com explained, "To position fenders correctly, hang them so that the bottoms of the fenders just skim the water’s surface, and then raise them an inch or two. This prevents the dock from pushing the fender up and out of position while limiting marine growth on the fender. Tie fenders to a solid anchor point, such as a station or a cleat instead of lifelines, which are not made to handle the stress. Also tie fenders as low as possible on the boat. This limits swing arc, ensuring that the fender will better maintain its intended position."

Cleaning and caring for your yacht fenders

When it comes to cleaning fenders, good old soap and water will often do the trick, however there are also specialist products and services you can use to keep your fenders looking fantastic. You can find a range of boat fender cleaning tutorials on YouTube, or a range of cleaning specialists on Yachtingpages.com, who will be happy to lend a hand.

Cylindrical centre hole yacht fendersHybrid yacht fenders on side of superyacht

When it comes to cleaning fenders, good old soap and water will often do the trick, however there are also specialist products and services you can use to keep your fenders looking fantastic. You can find a range of boat fender cleaning tutorials on YouTube, or a range of cleaning specialists on Yachtingpages.com, who will be happy to lend a hand.

It’s worth noting that fenders like all inflatables get harder in direct sunlight and softer in the rain and cooler weather – this is normal! With the typically hot and sunny climates experienced by the world’s superyacht fleet, it’s worth asking if UV protection is used to protect your chosen fenders.

Yacht fender covers, sox and accessories

Fender covers, or fender sox as they are sometimes called, provide protection to topsides and gel coats from fender scuff and wear. Often, fenders can become engrained with dirt and tar, which can be transferred onto neighbouring yachts, so more often than not, fender covers are a must!

Yacht fender covers add a matte finish to the fenders and can be ordered in an array of colours, depending on where you buy them. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can even create your own custom fender covers, or get some inspiration for fender cover designs from Pinterest.

Other accessories include fender racks for storage, fender pumps for inflation and a range of fender hooks, hangers, suspenders, clips, adjusters, cleats, lock etc. for safe deployment.

A final point about fenders is to always consider seeking advice from the professionals, as more often than not, especially if you’re purchasing for a larger superyacht, you will usually need custom-made yacht fenders.

You can search for yacht fender specialists for supply and advice on Yachtingpages.com.

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How to Choose the Right Yacht Fender Tips

How To Choose the Right Yacht Fenders For A Superyacht | Yachting Pages
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Choosing the correct fenders for your yacht

Written by Sarah Rowland

Last updated: 23/08/2017

Choosing the correct yacht fender system is important in providing protection for yachts and boats of any size. These seemingly small additions are vital to ensure the safekeeping of the yacht when it’s berthed. As such, it’s vital that the fenders you choose are of good quality and placed and secured correctly to prevent any costly damage, or contact with other boats. 

Search for yacht fender suppliers on Yachtingpages.com.

fenders in fender covers on a superyacht

Yachting Pages provides a guide to superyacht fenders, outlining the type and selection of fenders for your vessel, as well as their on-going care and maintenance.

What are yacht fenders and why are they important?

Consider a fender your yacht’s personal bodyguards, as their primary role is to protect the finish of a yacht from damage whilst it’s berthed alongside other yachts, or moored against a dock.

Fundamentally, when used correctly, a fender system acts as a shock absorber that prevents damaging marks and breakages to the side of a yacht, which is often surprising when you consider their size in relation to the yachts they protect!

As captains and crew will know, in the event of engine failure or accidents and oversights on board, fenders give additional protection to the yacht in the event of contact with the dock and other vessels. 

Choosing the best yacht fender for the job

When selecting fenders for a superyacht, you must first consider the type, size, draft, weight and displacement of the yacht, as well as the available space and fixtures for hanging and storing fenders aboard.

You may also need to consider the crew’s ability in safely moving and deploying fenders on board, and more about the typical currents, tidal action and docking facilities where the boat is usually berthed. The outcome of these factors combined will ultimately affect the type of fender or fenders selected to protect the boat.

The different types of superyacht fender

The main types of fenders for luxury yachts and superyachts include:

1. Cylindrical double-eye / sausage fenders

Sausage, or cylindrical double-eye fenders, are elongated, complete with rope tie at either end. These tend to be most popular on board shorter, lighter vessels. When used correctly, these fenders can be secured in a vertical or horizontal position and can be easily stored in racks or lockers on the yacht when not in use.

Larger sausage fenders are available with air foam interiors to provide additional strength, as well as offering more space between the yacht and dock and/or other yachts for increased safety.

2. Cylindrical centre-hole fenders

Cylindrical centre-hole fenders provide more cushioning than a cylindrical double-eye as they have just one centre-point running through the middle, rather than two at either end. Like cylindrical double-eye fenders, they can be used both vertically and horizontally and are good for larger vessels.

3. Round / spherical fenders

Round fenders are known for providing the largest degree of protection for the yacht, due to the distance they create between the vessel and its neighbour or berth. When used on larger yachts, these provide excellent protection when fending against other yachts. However, the downside of round fenders, are due to their shape, as they require more space for safe storage on board.

Round coloured yacht fenders on superyacht dockHybrid yacht fenders on side of superyacht

4. Hybrid fenders

Hybrid fenders are, as the name suggests, a cross between two types of fender - typically cylinrical and round fenders. The diameter of the hybrid fenders allows for more protection, and unlike the round fenders, can be stored more easily on board.

5. Transom fenders

Transom fenders are also available to protect the yacht’s swim platform from damage from water toys and tenders. These are custom-made to fit each yacht’s unique dimensions and storage needs.

6. Bow fenders

Bow fenders are also available to protect the delicate bow of the boat when moored.

How many fenders do you need on your yacht?

When berthing in a marina, it’s recommended that yachts should have at least three fenders on each side, plus one for roving. The standard superyacht will however need many more. Yacht fender specialists and suppliers should be able to advise on the best set up for your yacht. Most can be inflated with a standard pump to the guidelines given by the fender manufacturer.

Anchoring.com explained, "There is a rule of thumb for fender number: Use one fender per 10’ of waterline, with a minimum of three fenders. So a 20' boat would need three fenders and a 40' would need four. At least one fender must be placed at maximum beam, with others distributed fore and aft. When rafting, more fenders are a good idea, three at maximum beam and two – round fenders are best – set fore and aft. Again, more fenders are better than fewer, so I’d advise against meeting only minimum requirements."

Fitting yacht fenders on board

When fitting fenders vertically, always ensure that they are just above the surface of the water and are tied correctly to the relevant rail, stanchion or cleat as low as possible on the yacht. This will help to prevent the fender from swinging in a wide arc and ending up on top of the quay or pontoon as well as preventing abrasion.

Anchoring.com explained, "To position fenders correctly, hang them so that the bottoms of the fenders just skim the water’s surface, and then raise them an inch or two. This prevents the dock from pushing the fender up and out of position while limiting marine growth on the fender. Tie fenders to a solid anchor point, such as a station or a cleat instead of lifelines, which are not made to handle the stress. Also tie fenders as low as possible on the boat. This limits swing arc, ensuring that the fender will better maintain its intended position."

Cleaning and caring for your yacht fenders

When it comes to cleaning fenders, good old soap and water will often do the trick, however there are also specialist products and services you can use to keep your fenders looking fantastic. You can find a range of boat fender cleaning tutorials on YouTube, or a range of cleaning specialists on Yachtingpages.com, who will be happy to lend a hand.

Cylindrical centre hole yacht fendersHybrid yacht fenders on side of superyacht

When it comes to cleaning fenders, good old soap and water will often do the trick, however there are also specialist products and services you can use to keep your fenders looking fantastic. You can find a range of boat fender cleaning tutorials on YouTube, or a range of cleaning specialists on Yachtingpages.com, who will be happy to lend a hand.

It’s worth noting that fenders like all inflatables get harder in direct sunlight and softer in the rain and cooler weather – this is normal! With the typically hot and sunny climates experienced by the world’s superyacht fleet, it’s worth asking if UV protection is used to protect your chosen fenders.

Yacht fender covers, sox and accessories

Fender covers, or fender sox as they are sometimes called, provide protection to topsides and gel coats from fender scuff and wear. Often, fenders can become engrained with dirt and tar, which can be transferred onto neighbouring yachts, so more often than not, fender covers are a must!

Yacht fender covers add a matte finish to the fenders and can be ordered in an array of colours, depending on where you buy them. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can even create your own custom fender covers, or get some inspiration for fender cover designs from Pinterest.

Other accessories include fender racks for storage, fender pumps for inflation and a range of fender hooks, hangers, suspenders, clips, adjusters, cleats, lock etc. for safe deployment.

A final point about fenders is to always consider seeking advice from the professionals, as more often than not, especially if you’re purchasing for a larger superyacht, you will usually need custom-made yacht fenders.

You can search for yacht fender specialists for supply and advice on Yachtingpages.com.

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