It can be sad to see boaters ruin their boats as a result of docking. Any boater can be faced with conditions that will not favor a safe docking experience. This is why it is important to prepare for the worse by protecting the boat from the dock. You can easily protect the boat from the dock using the right dock bumper.
Dock bumpers can help boaters prepare for any unsafe docking experience by providing cushion at places of impact. Instead of the boat having direct contact with the hard dock surfaces, they have contact with the dock bumper. What would have been a destructive impact will be prevented.
In this post, many topics about dock bumpers will be discussed, such as the different types of bumpers, the importance of having dock bumpers, and the common materials available to choose from. Also, we will also offer you some tips for choosing the most suitable dock bumpers according to your actual demands.
Complete Introduction of Dock Bumpers
You’ve probably seen different protective accessories attached to the dock to create some kind of cushion for a boat and you don’t know what it is called. Well, it is called a dock bumper. Let’s dive right into the basics
What Is a Dock Bumper & How Does it Work?
Boat protection from docks is needed in recreational and commercial docks since there are often impacts between the dock and boats. These impacts can be a result of the waves of the water tossing the boat around. Safety features are needed on the dock to protect it, its structural elements, users, or their equipment.
A dock bumper is an important safety feature every boater should consider investing in. They are attached to the dock to protect the boats, cargo, users, and the dock. The dock bumper protects the boat from the dock by eliminating damage caused by impact or abrasion. The continuous impact can cause serious damage to the boat, but the dock bumpers will help prevent this.
Dock bumpers are made from heavy-duty rubber, plastics, or other durable materials The heavy-duty plastics and rubbers have the ability to withstand the pressure from the boat during an impact.
Why Are They Important?
It is easy to note dents, cracks, and unpleasant marks on boats. In fact, a lot of us see these dents as a lack of proper care of the boat. If you want to avoid the displeasure caused by dents and cracks on your boat, choosing a proper dock bumper is the easiest solution.
When you protect the boat from the dock with a dock bumper, you can extend the lifespan of the dock and boat. The lifespan of a boat reduces with every unfavorable condition it is exposed to, which includes collision with the dock.
Also, the dock’s structural elements weaken from every impact it is exposed to. But with a dock bumper in place, a collision between the dock and the boat will not leave a serious consequence on the lifespan of either the dock or the boat.
Dock bumpers are durable and cost-effective. High-quality dock bumpers are designed to withstand heavy use and can last for many years with proper maintenance.
Boat Fenders vs. Dock Bumpers
Although boat fenders and dock bumpers serve similar purposes, they are different. Dock bumpers differ from boat fenders in their application.
Dock bumpers are attached to the dock to create a barrier between the dock and the boat, and a boat fender is attached to the boat to provide a cushion when they come in contact with the dock. They are both important accessories every boat owner should invest in.
Different Dock Bumpers Can Protect Your Boat
It’s hard to go wrong when you know the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of a boat bumper. It becomes easier to choose from the different options available.
We will discuss 5 commonly used types of dock bumpers to help make an informed decision.
Instead of disposing of worn-out tires or burning them, why not put them to good use? Burning tires can cause environmental pollution. Tires can be repurposed and used to make dock bumpers.
One thing to keep in mind when using tire dock bumpers is that they may leave black marks on the sides of boats that come in contact with the bumper. This is a common issue with tire dock bumpers, but a simple cleaning solution can easily resolve the stain.
Dock edging is a material installed along the edges of docks majorly for boat protection from docks. The edges of docks are hard because they are made from tough materials. Direct contact between the boat and these hard materials leaves a mark on the boat.
If you care for your boat, it is easy to show it by looking for means to make the hard part of the dock that will be exposed to the boat soft. You can do this by using softer materials like rubber strips, foams, or plastics to wrap around the hard edges. This way when there is an impact, it won’t be a serious one.
Piling or Post Bumpers
If you dock your boat on fixed docks, then you should know that driving into the post of the dock is risky. You may get this awful feeling each time your boat hits the dock with a great impact. Installing post bumpers will put your mind at ease when next there is an impact.
Posts and piles are the major structural elements of fixed docks. When they are left unprotected it becomes risky as the stability of the dock depends on the posts. Damage to the post can be expensive to repair. Piling or post-bumpers help prevent these avoidable expenses.
Post pumpers are cushioned materials that are attached to the posts of fixed docks. Post bumpers are needed on fixed docks to protect the piles or posts of the dock from either damaging the boats or getting damaged by the boat. The post bumpers are tied or nailed to different posts to provide cushioning.
Dock wheels are important components of a dock system. They serve two purposes, first, they protect the boat from damage. Secondly, they make it easier to move the dock in and out of the water.
A complete dock has corner mounts and side mounts. Corner mounts should be attached to the corners of the dock, especially those sharp edges. Sharp edges of the dock can cause dents on boats, but when they are guarded with corner dock wheel mounts, the sharp edges will not damage your boat. Side mounts are fixed at the side of the dock to serve the same purpose.
Inflatable or Foam-Filled Dock Bumpers
Inflatable dock bumpers look like balloons or punching bags. They are made with heavy-duty PVC material and hollows that are inflated. Inflatable dock bumpers should be spaced evenly throughout the sides of the docks, depending on how big the dock is or the size of the boat.
Foam-filled dock bumpers are similar to inflatable bumpers. Instead of the hollow that is inflated with air, a foam-filled dock bumper is filled with forms. The foam protects the boat when there is a collision with the dock.
Common Materials of Dock Bumpers
There is no uniform material for producing bumpers. Different dock bumper manufacturers use materials that are readily available to them. The common materials for making dock bumpers are vinyl, PVC, rubber, and foam.
Vinyl dock bumpers can withstand changing climatic conditions and the ultraviolet rays of the sun. One major advantage of using vinyl is its ability to remain the same even when exposed to harsh conditions. Unlike other materials, vinyl will not lose its shine and beauty in a short time.
You should be careful of the choice of material if your dock is on salt water. Saltwater can cause corrosion if you are not using materials that are compatible with saltwater. PVCs are generally not affected by salt water.
In fact, they are weather resistant, UV resistant, and also are not spoilt by ice. All these properties of PVC make them a great choice among boaters that lives in salty water or in an extremely cold country.
Rubbers are common dock mate bumpers material. They are made from recycled rubber materials and tires. Rubber tires are durable and can easily resist ultraviolet rays.
One major thing to be concerned about while using rubber bumpers is their ability to scuff the hull of fiberglass boats. This is not to say they are terrible. We only suggest that you should be a little cautious when you dock.
Foams are cheap and readily available, this explains why foam bumpers are not expensive. If you are using foam dock bumpers or you plan to use one eventually, you should be prepared to change them often because they do not fare well over time. They will either get pressed after many impacts.
How to Choose Right Bumpers to Protect Boat From Dock
Whether you’re looking for temporary, less expensive dock bumpers or prefer a more permanent and classy one, it is important to make the right choice when choosing from all forms of boat protection from docks. In this guide, we’ll highlight a couple of things to consider when choosing.
Consider the Conditions Your Boat Is Exposed to
Before purchasing dock bumpers, it is important to consider their ability to handle various water conditions, including harsh conditions. While some dock bumpers are effective in calm waters, they may not be the best for wavy waters. Also, while some might be suitable in salt waters, others might get damaged.
It is important to consider the different conditions the boat, dock, and dock bumpers will be exposed to. As the wave and wake exposure, tidal changes, and the saltiness of the water around your dock should be considered. You should also consider the general weather conditions of your area.
It won’t be a wise investment to buy the wrong material for your weather or to buy a dock bumper meant for freshwater if you dock your boat on salt water.
For instance, if the dock is situated in an environment of extreme heat or cold, PVC or weather-resistant rubbers are suitable to use in that area. Also, if the tides of the water have a strong impact force, materials that can resist the high impact like rubber should be used. Inflated dock bumpers might not be able to resist a very strong tide.
Choose One That Suits Your Boat Size
Why are you buying a boat bumper? I’m sure it is because you want to protect your boat or dock. If the boat bumper is too small for your boat, it won’t work.
The size of the boat matters a lot. Bigger boats need dock bumpers that can conveniently support their weight. Also, smaller boats need dock bumpers that are designed specifically for them.
While choosing dock mate bumpers, always ensure that the appropriate size and proportions of the dock bumper match that of the boat. Using bumpers designed for smaller boats on a dock could lead to difficulties in achieving the needed purpose.
The size of the bumper should be capable enough to support the size and weight of the boat. If this requirement is not met, it’s not the right purchase.
Determine According to Your Budget
Sometimes, we confuse high price for best quality. This is not always correct. As important as investing in dock bumpers is, buying those dock bumpers that are way out of the budget is not a wise financial decision. You don’t necessarily have to break the bank in order to purchase an efficient dock bumper.
It is always good to know what your purchasing power is and go for it. Write a budget that shows the quality you need and the price you are willing to spend before going for market research or window shopping.
Tires are easily the cheapest dock bumper option if you are on a budget. Worn-out tires that are no longer suitable for use on your cars can serve as dock bumpers.
Also, if you want a different type of dock bumper on a budget, you can consider buying a foam dock bumper. It is not as expensive as rubber and PVC dock bumpers. The only problem is foam bumpers are not as durable as these other options.
Choose according to your budget, but also bear in mind durability and the other factors mentioned above are equally very important in deciding what dock bumper to purchase.
Installation and Replacement of Dock Bumpers
Installing and replacing a dock bumper is not rocket science. It is quite easy. It doesn’t take too much time. You can seek professional help to get excellent results if you are not sure of your ability.
Below is a quick run-through of the process of properly installing and replacing a dock bumper.
How to Install Dock Bumpers Properly?
The four ways to install dock bumpers are: taking accurate measurements, attaching mounting brackets, placing the dock bumpers, sealing, and finishing.
① Measure the Height and Length of the Dock
The first step of installing a dock bumper is to tactically measure the area where the bumpers will be installed. The measurement can be done with either tape or rulers.
The way we measure a fixed dock is different from a floating dock. For fixed docks, measurements should be taken from the ground level to the top of the dock.
Floating docks have their base on the water. So their height is usually from the water’s surface to the top of the dock. Accurate measurement is needed for an adequate result. Hence, measurement should be done without errors.
If you are not sure you are doing the right thing, get professional help.
② Attach Mounting Bracket
The mounting bracket is what will hold the bumper in place and ensure stability and firmness of the bumper. Attaching mounting brackets of dock bumpers is a little bit technical. It involves precision and accuracy. In order to fix the bracket, it is important to have a drill and some screws that are compatible with the dock’s material handy.
The step to mounting the bracket is positioning it where you want it to be installed. Ensure it is horizontally balanced, accurately positioned, and aligned with the dock. Next, use the drill to create small holes for the screws. Then screw the mounting bracket firmly to the dock.
Get professional help if you doubt your DIY skills.
③ Place Dock Bumpers
After successfully attaching the mounting bracket to the dock, and you are sure you did a great job, you can proceed to slide the bumper onto the bracket.
Placing the dock bumpers to the already fixed mounting brackets also needs precision and technical skills. Be as cautious and steady as possible in maneuvering the bumper into its designated position to prevent any harm or damage.
It may be necessary to make slight modifications in order to attain an ideal fit. Once you are content with the positioning of the bumper, the subsequent step would involve sealing and completing the setup.
④ Sealing and Finishing
Sealing and finishing is the last step of properly installing dock bumpers. It involves adding a sealant around the edges of the bumper to make it tight and waterproof. This is to prevent water, debris, or other materials from getting between the bumper and the dock, which can lead to damage over a long time.
Apply a substantial amount of sealant along the borders while spreading it out to guarantee a secure seal. Also, ensure that the sealant properly dries out before using the dock. By taking this measure, you can effectively extend the lifespan of your dock bumper.
When Should You Replace for a New Set?
Although dock bumpers are durable, they do not last forever. Factors such as frequency of use, visible damages, changes in boat size, and durability of the bumper determine to a great extent when a replacement is needed.
- Frequency of use: If the dock is used more often, as in the case of marinas and commercial loading docks, the dock bumper will encounter more boats, and it will need regular replacement.
- Visible damage: Visible damages are indications that the bumpers should be replaced.
- Changes in boat size: As explained earlier, boat sizes should be a major factor when deciding on dock bumpers for docks. If the boat is replaced with a bigger or smaller one, replacing the dock bumper will become necessary.
- Durability: Some dock bumpers are very durable, while others require regular change. It’s important to confirm the durability of the dock bumpers with the producer.
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- Premium Dock Bumpers of Different Sizes We Supply
Hisea Dock offers premium dock bumpers of different sizes to protect your waterfront property and boats from damage. We offer 2 types of Fender floats. You can choose from our long fender float or short fender float, depending on your specific needs. Whatever your choice is, you are guaranteed efficient protection for your dock and boat all year round.
- All Kinds of Waterfront Solutions Available
If you’re looking for a reliable and versatile company that can provide you with all your waterfront needs, check out Hisea Dock. Hisea Dock offers various waterfront solutions such as floating docks, floating bridges, floating platforms, and jet ski docks.
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In conclusion, protect the boat from the dock to maintain the safety of the boat and the longevity of the dock. Most of the dents you see on boats are from collisions with the dock, or other boats. Having dock bumpers or boat fenders in place would have prevented the dents.
Like every other thing, research is important. Finding out the right boat bumper to use on docks is very important. The right dock is the one that is suitable for your boat size, and dock location and can give value for money spent. If you are not getting all of these, then it probably is not the right choice.
We have a lot of relevant posts that offer tips and insights on dock bumpers and other waterfront solutions. If you’re looking for dock bumpers or other marine products, please don’t hesitate to contact us.