Yachting Pages recently spoke to Dudley Pattison from Made 2 Measure Fenders LLP, a leading provider of superyacht fenders and fender equipment, to discuss the likelihood of a fender bursting, how to prevent it and what to do if it happens.
Made 2 Measure hypalon fenders
Made 2 Measure fender hooks
Q&A with Made 2 Measure Fenders on attending to fender bursts
What would be the reason a fender may burst?
Fenders do burst and there is an argument that as long as the vessel is not damaged when the fender bursts, the fender has done its job. As for fenders bursting regularly, we have only had one of our hypalon fenders burst in 8 years.
The main reason for a fender bursting is excess load applied to a small area, so for example, a fender trapped between the vessel and rising edge of a pontoon could puncture a fender. A fender constantly rubbed against a rough service such as a commercial quayside will weaken the structure of a fender too.
How can fender bursts be prevented? How should crew care for their fenders?
Fender bursts tend to happen in extreme mooring conditions, and as such are difficult to prevent. Cleaning fenders regularly will ensure monitoring of their condition and use of fender covers will help to extend their life expectancy.
Does a fender have a ‘shelf life’? How often would you recommend they are changed?
The shelf life of a fender depends on the fabric of the fender and the environment. A PVC fender will last longer in northern Europe than in the Mediterranean. A hypalon fender made from heavy duty hypalon will last longer in all environments. To distinguish the difference easily think of a tube on an inflatable dinghy for inflatable PVC fenders and for a heavy duty hypalon, think of a tube on a commercial/military RIB.
Life expectancy of an inflatable PVC fender is 5 years, whereas a hypalon is considerably longer. Condition of the fenders should be monitored on a regular basis for wear and tear.
Can a fender be repaired if punctured or damaged? Or is it recommended for the yacht to buy new?
Inflatable PVC fenders can be repaired as a temporary measure. Replacement is a safer option. Hypalon fenders can be repaired and refurbished to safely extend their usage.
How do crew measure pressure inside the fender?
Crew can measure pressure if a pressure gauge is attached to the compressor. These pressure levels are dependent on weather conditions as a sudden drop in air temperature can affect the air pressure in a fender.
Regular monitoring of the fenders will ensure correct air pressure. Inflatable fenders should be inflated so they are firm to the touch, and they should be hung with the valve facing down so that in the event of a fender bursting the valve can only go into the sea.
For more information on fenders and fender covers, click here.
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