Pontoon Boat Fenders: All You Need to Know

During a poker run a few years ago, our neighbor’s fenders were not completely fastened for whatever reason. They were riding up the side of the hull and rolling around, raising concern among boat owners on both sides. Everyone was concerned that their boat would be scuffed or damaged in some way.

What can be done to avoid a scenario like this?

Fenders for pontoon boats are available when you need them. They provide additional protection and insurance for your boat, yet they’re often overlooked. We just choose the cheapest form we can find and toss it overboard. However, there are a number of fenders available, each of which serves a particular purpose. To ensure that your boat’s hull is protected, it’s critical to understand what each one does.

Here’s a short rundown of the several types of fenders on the market, including fenders for square railings, which pontoon owners are all too acquainted with.

Size, Spacing, and Quantity Guidelines for Pontoon Fenders

Cylindrical fenders should be one inch in diameter for every five feet of boat length.

You’ll need a minimum of three fenders, one at the widest beam, one at the fore, and one at the aft, but one fender every 10 feet of waterline is a good rule of thumb.

The Must-Have Pontoon Fender Accessories

Rail hangers and adjusters

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This pair of rail hangers and adjusters is ideal for deploying a fender rapidly.

Even if you know how to tie a knot, it’s handy to have on hand because they can be moved quickly.

Rail hangers for circular rails are also available, but they are designed particularly to fasten firmly to a 1 square pontoon railing.


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Larger vessels and sailboats with lifeline stanchions benefit from fender racks.

These make it easier to deploy while keeping two fenders close by but out of the way of the captain.

Covers and cleaners

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Your fenders, like your vinyl upholstery, may grow moldy and unclean. Covers may be overkill for some boaters, since they come in a variety of colors and with embroidered logos, but you should maintain them clean at the very least.

This Starbrite Mildew Remover, which is also suitable for canvas enclosures, fiberglass, and maritime upholstery, may be used.

Standard Fenders

1. Cylindrical fenders

Cylindrical double-eye

These fenders, also known as cylindrical double-hole fenders, are designed for smaller vessels and include eyelets on both ends.

The fender may be hung horizontally by two lines thanks to the double-eye function. In addition, most cylindrical fenders are molded with ribbed reinforcement, which adds stability and helps hold the fender in place.

Cylindrical center hole

The center tube of these fenders is sculpted to allow a rope to pass through it. For longer uses, you may even slip several together on the same rope.

Hybrid cylindrical round

The cylindrical double-eye fender is quite similar to these fenders, except they have a softer edge. They feature a smoother surface than a ball fender and no ribbed reinforcing.

2. Round cylinders

Ball fenders, sometimes called as round cylinders, are hollow plastic cylinders with a hollow interior. Only one line may be attached to these round ball cylinder fenders. I don’t think the ordinary recreational boater would find these useful. Powerboats and commercial fishing vessels are the most common uses. They can also be utilized as mooring buoys because they can grow pretty huge.

3. Transom fenders

Boaters who enjoy anchoring or tying up on crowded poker runs or party islands might consider transom fenders. For added safety, they attach to the middle of your transom or swim platform. This type secures swim steps up to 4 inches thick by running a line through a diameter tube and tying it off.

My only gripe with them is that they’re a little huge, and you’ll have to think about where you’ll put the fender while it’s not in use.

4. Flat fenders

Flat fenders with a rectangular form are meant to not roll along the side of your boat. They’re also quite modular, and may be connected to create a bigger fender. They’re easy to store because of their flat design. Even better, they can be used as extra guest seating.

Sometimes they’re referred to as contour fenders or tab fenders. This implies the model includes a central crease that increases flexibility and allows the fender to conform to the curved shape of your boat.

Fenders Designed for Pontoon Boats

The problem with pontoon fenders is that they have the same beam width from bow to stern and flat aluminum sidewalls that are solely covered by the frame. This makes it more difficult to safeguard your pontoon. When the rails are square, it makes things much more difficult.

Some fenders are designed to be more firmly secured, making it easier to remember to throw over a fender. You don’t need to drill into the railing since it fits tightly, but you might not be able to fit your pontoon cover after it’s installed. As a result, prepare to remove them before winterizing your pontoon.

One thing to keep in mind concerning pontoon fenders: some are constructed of solid plastic and, although being hollow, will not float! Also, because it is made of plastic, there isn’t much in the way of stress absorption. As a result, bear this in mind!

5. Side fenders

Side fenders for pontoon boats are designed to suit their trademark square rails and structure.

Taylor Made Products’ side fender (shown right) is made of marine-grade and UV-resistant vinyl and comes with a re-inflating valve.

6. Fence-saver fenders

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Taylor Made Products’ fender saver attaches to the railing but is particularly intended to preserve your pontoon’s aluminum fence.

I’ve seen them utilized on the water to connect huge groups of rafting boats. These are tight, but they also include an attaching strap for more security.

7. Corner fenders

Aluminum corners are already included into pontoons to protect their platforms. But if you hit a dock or, for that matter, a nearby boat at the correct speed, you’ll rip one right off. Using a decent buffer, such as these corner fenders, might help to reduce your impact.

Because the gray PVC hue mixes well with the original metal frame, they are barely discernible. Also, take attention to whether your pontoon has square or round corner fenders when you buy it. To fit, you’ll need the correct size.

Dock Fenders

8. Dock edge boat saver

Both docks and pilings may be protected with these dock fenders.

Dock fenders frequently come with molded covers that attach to your dock and provide some cushioning protection.

9. Corner dock wheels

Dock wheels are ideal if you have a habit of slamming into the slip too hard.

They roll you off the dock and away from the dock, avoiding a direct hit and any damage to your boat.

These dock wheels are re-inflatable and mount on the corner of your dock with a bracket.

A terrible scenario may be made or broken by having the right number and size of fenders.

Perhaps our poker run neighbor’s fender wasn’t lowered to the proper height. Perhaps the fender wasn’t ribbed, causing it to flail all over the place.

A fender may appear to be a little piece of equipment, but your pontoon boat and nearby boats will thank you one day, perhaps even at a large dock party!

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