Choosing the correct fender for your yacht
Written by Sophie Allen
Last updated: 02/09/2016
Choosing the correct yacht fender system is often overlooked when providing protection for yachts of any size. It’s vital to ensure that the yacht fenders you choose are of good quality and in place correctly to prevent any costly damage, or contact with other boats. Take a look at our guide below, for advice on how to choose the correct yacht fenders for your vessel.
What are yacht fenders?
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 approaching another yacht or when mooring. Fundamentally, a fender acts as a shock absorber that prevents damaging marks and breakages to the side of a yacht.
Choosing the best yacht fender for the job
Choosing the best fender for a particular yacht requires a number of factors. The size of the yacht, the number of fenders and the type of fender are all aspects to be considered. As well as this, you should look into how the fender will be secured to the side of the yacht to prevent abrasions.
Sausage (or cylindrical double-eye) fenders are elongated, complete with rope tie at either end, and tend to be most popular on board shorter, lighter vessels. When used correctly, these fenders can be in the vertical or horizontal position and can be easily stored in racks or lockers on the yacht.
The 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.
Round fenders are known for providing the largest degree of protection due to the distance they create between the yacht and the berth. Particularly when used on larger yachts, they provide excellent protection when fending against other yachts. However, the downside of round fenders, are due to their shape, they require more space to store them safely.
Hybrid fenders are, as the name suggests, a cross between round and sausage fenders. The diameter of the hybrid fenders allow for more protection, and unlike the round fenders, can be stored easily.
Cylindrical centre-hole fenders
Cylindrical centre hole fenders provide more cushioning than a cylindrical double-eye, with just one centre-point running through the fender, 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.
How many yacht fenders should you use?
When going to a marina, yachts should have at least three fenders on each side plus one for roving. Most fenders can be inflated with a standard pump.
As captains and crew will know, in the event of engine failure, the yacht may need to drift close to a pier or quickly manoeuvre port or starboard. In such a case, ensure the safety of the yacht and be prepared to deploy the yacht fenders to protect from obstructions and contact with the dock and other vessels.
Fitting yacht fenders
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.
Cleaning 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 you can use to keep your fenders looking fantastic. You can find a range of boat fender cleaning tutorials on YouTube.
Yacht fender covers
Fender covers, or fender sox as they are sometimes called, provide protection to topsides and gel-coats from fender scuff and wear. Tar and dirt can also stain the fenders and transfer the grunge onto another yacht, so more often than not, fender covers are a must!
Yacht fender covers add a matte finish to the fenders and can come in an array of colours, depending on where you buy them. If you’re feeling particularly creative, you can even create your own fender covers, or get some inspiration for fender cover designs from Pinterest.
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.
Another important point is to always ensure fenders are correctly inflated; over-inflated fenders are as dangerous as under-inflated fenders, and the former can increase the likelihood of leaking or bursting, leading to unwanted movements on the yacht. For more information on what to do if your yacht fenders should burst, take a look at our Q&A with Made 2 Measure Fenders.