I probably don't have to tell you about the benefits of having strong, solid, reliable fenders; when correctly positioned, they provide a cushion between your boat and the dock, preventing nasty scratches and often considerably worse damage. But finding ones that fit the contours of your particular boat and slip can be difficult. The following recommendations should help simplify that task.
First up is the flat fender from Aere, which is designed to protect your boat's swim platform, stern, and gunnels from bumping up against the dock when she's tied stern-to. Eight inches thick, it comes in six sizes ranging from 3'x2' ($350) to 16'x2' ($1,845), the latter designed for megayachts. Then there's the $1,099 Jeffee Rolling Yacht Fender from At Bay Yacht Products. It's designed for boats 28 to 65 feet and is comprised of four inflatable, fix-mount, spring-action fenders that attach to the dock. The unusual shape is intended to eliminate constant adjustment due to tidal fluctuation, waves, and wakes. Installation hardware is included, but the Jeffee can be custom-fit for an additional cost.
To help you keep things neat and tidy and thereby safer for everyone onboard, there's the Line Locker from RM Partners. Its Sure Lock lid unscrews to reveal a hollow “locker” for stowing lines. It's available in blue, black, and white and comes in two sizes: 8"x20" and 10"x26". To help you more quickly and accurately position your fenders, there's the FenderGrip, a quick-release line adjuster that lets you move your fender from a cleat, rail, grab handle, or stanchion with the push of a button. It's $19.99. Or try the FenderFriend from Shockles, an adjustable strap allows the fender to slowly rotate in place when your boat is moving forward, instead of getting snagged while docking. It retails for $12.95.
This article originally appeared in the August 2007 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.