Boat fenders are used to protect your boats from possible damages. These can easily be damaged with the following conditions:
1) Collision with another object (jet ski, ship or even another boat)
2) Weather condition (King Tide or Tsunami)
3) Actions of other water vessels (waves pushing against your boat by passing ships, jet skis and more).
A good quality boat fender is designed to withstand all these conditions.
Although there is no complete “perfect” product that is able to withstand any kind of weather condition, some manufacturers have made it their life’s goal to design products which come as close as possible.
Here are three famous manufacturers who provide great quality fenders:
2. MARINE CITY
3. PYI Polyurethane Inflatable Boat Fender (Corflex)
One of the factors that usually comes as an advantage to real rubber boat fenders is the great level of shock absorption they provide. They are able to ease out a lot of pressure from the force exerted by big ships or boats passing through, and thus reducing possible damages to your boat hull and paintwork.
Plastic boat fenders only provide a very little amount of shock absorption to your boat hull. Most plastic fenders can be compared with having a sharp object continuously scratching against the side of your boat without stopping, resulting in potential danger to your paintwork.
Boat Fender Thickness
Another important factor to take into consideration when choosing a boat fender is its thickness.
A good quality inflatable fender should only be about 1cm thick, while an excellent quality inflatable can go up to 2cm thick without causing any problems for the user. The thicker the better, because it will provide more resistance against water pressure and this will in turn mean that bigger ships are less likely to cause any damage to your vessel while passing through.
Deck mounted boat fenders can be easily removed by using standard blocks or pulleys system without causing any permanent damages to your boat hull or paintwork .
Other types of boat fenders are either welded onto the ship’s deck permanently meaning they cannot be removed unless taken apart, or they are simply tied up using ropes and cannot be easily taken down.
Size is an advantage with the best boat fenders
Another factor that usually comes as an advantage to inflatable boat fenders is that they can come in a variety of different sizes depending on the overall dimensions of your vessel.
Non-inflatable types of boat fenders are not designed for boats of a certain size, so if you have a very large ship then you definitely need to consider getting one of the inflatable types.
They are also known for their light weight which makes them easier to handle while transporting it from one location to another. Non-inflatable types of boat fenders are known for being very heavy and difficult to handle, so it’s best if you go with the lighter option available on the market.
Inflatable types of boat fenders provide a very large level of flexibility to your ship, especially when you need to maneuver it in tight spaces. Non-inflatable types lack this kind of flexibility which can make things difficult for the user.
If you’re planning on docking in small port areas where there is not enough space for movement then we recommend that you get an inflatable type fender instead.
Non-Inflatable Boat Fenders
Non-inflatable and deck mounted boat fenders usually come in a standard rectangular shape with no special design or patterns on its surface.
This means that all possible damage done by passing ships will be transferred directly to your vessel’s paintwork when they collide against these kinds of fenders leaving permanent scuff marks behind. This is not a problem with inflatable types, as they come in a variety of different shapes and designs depending on the manufacturer.
Inflatable fenders are known for being very durable and long lasting, some of them can even last up to 10 years without requiring any repairs or maintenance at all which makes non-inflatable boat fenders look bad by comparison.
Another benefit provided by inflatable boat fenders is that they have a very thick rubber outer skin which acts as a protective barrier against sharp objects such as ice or rocks. This will ensure you don’t cause any damage to your vessel while passing through rocky areas with lots of sharp ice chunks around.
Inflatable Boat Fender Costs
Inflatable types of boat fenders usually provide less operating costs when compared with non-inflatable types. Non-inflatable fenders require the user to purchase and maintain a high pressure air pump which can be very costly in the long run, while inflatable fenders use compressed gas cylinders as an operating power source.
They usually come with a set of valves that provide easy access for refilling purposes every time they empty out, and replacement costs will only amount to around $10 per cylinder which is much cheaper than having to buy a new expensive air compressor.
What you should also keep in consideration when choosing between inflatable and non-inflatable types of boat fenders is their availability on the market.
There are various brands selling inflatable types on websites such as Amazon , eBay , Craigslist etc.. while non-inflatable ones are mainly sold by small local sea shops which makes it hard to source these fenders if you’re located in remote areas.
Pros & Cons of Inflatable Boat Fenders
Pros – Inflatable boat fenders have a big advantage over standard types due to their light weight, flexibility and easy storage capabilities.
They can be deflated within seconds so you can store them away when not needed. The other benefit is that they come in different shapes and designs depending on the manufacturer which doesn’t apply for non-inflatable versions.
Cons – While inflatable types are very flexible, this also means they won’t provide much protection to your ship’s hull if it collides against hard objects such as rocks or ice chunks
This limits their use to port areas with big open spaces where there is no chance of collision against obstacles. Portions of the inflatable boat fender may also sink below the water level when it’s deflated, and this makes them a difficult obstacle to avoid if you’re a small vessel.
In summary – Inflatable types of boat fenders are best suited for docking in open waters with plenty of free space around, while non-inflatable boats can be used in areas where port entry is limited by lots of hard objects such as rocks or ice chunks.
The inflatable type requires less maintenance and provides more flexibility which provides advantages over standard types in many ways.