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Old 07-10-2008, 07:29 PM   #1
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Dock bumpers

Confession time:* I'm a lousy close-quarters boat handler.* I can do engines, systems, electrical, and such, but docking is (IMHO) more art than science ... and I ain't an artist.*

It's compounded by the facts that I'm frequently singlehanding, and that I have a double slip shared by a 37' Pacific Trawler that's beamy and expensive.* (As opposed to my boat, which is just beamy and old).

So I usually try to err on being as close as possible to the dock side of the slip, which usually results in fenders riding up and wood-to-fiberglass contact.

I'm thinking about installing dock bumpers.* They don't ride up and they should give me another few inches between the dock and my neighbor.

Good idea?* Bad idea?* Take up another hobby?

I've attached a picture of*the type of bumper I'm thinking of.



-- Edited by Chris Foster at 20:43, 2008-07-10
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Old 07-10-2008, 10:13 PM   #2
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RE: Dock bumpers

Mate,
If it's your berth do it.
Every little bit of protection helps.
As a mate and I allways say once you have berthed, if no one is killed or maimed and no major damage has occured it was successful and deserves a beer.
I was full of confidence and had no problems , spin and back my boat in and out of a keyhole.
I then had a bit of a bingle and lost my confidence for a while.
Now it is slowly, slowly and never too much power just enough to shuffle forward or astern and good directions from the Boss.
Get the spring on ,wheel over, a bit of power and Bob's your uncle.

Any extra protection is good protection and never forget the fenders on the other side of your vessel to protect yourself and the other boat.
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Old 07-11-2008, 12:20 AM   #3
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RE: Dock bumpers

I iwll have to warn you about those "wheel thingies". I have seen them completely collapse leaving only the metal structure they are made out of to impact the boat. I am talking major gelcoat gouge. The Taylormade "corner protectors" are worth it for sure. Very cheap and they keep the corner of your dock from digging into your boat.
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Old 07-11-2008, 04:05 AM   #4
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RE: Dock bumpers

You know those "wheel thingies" have an air valve and have to be kept inflated just like a fender. If you don't add air occasionally, or don't add some in winter when it gets cold, they will collapse. Shouldn't be a problem if they're properly inflated however, unless you just crash into them!

Dock bumpers are a great idea; most marinas I've been in have them. Just don't get BLACK! Leaves really nasty dock rash.
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Old 07-11-2008, 08:22 AM   #5
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RE: Dock bumpers

True Keith. But if you look at the way they are installed, the load and the load path are borne at the axle of the wheel. Even if they don't collapse, a heavy boat can easily bend that ball back flexing the whole fixture or actually compromise the mounting and that again leaves metal to gelcoat potential. My personal opinioin is they are not worth the money. They would work great for a 30ish foot sailboat but I would use it for anything over 15k pounds.
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Old 07-11-2008, 11:23 AM   #6
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RE: Dock bumpers

Chris--- Dock bumpers as you illustrated are a good idea. We don't have them in our slip but we hung several old fenders horizontally off the bull rail and they do basically the same thing. We also secured a fender horizontally--- and I plan to add at least one more--- at the head of the slip to give the bow something to run into if I mess up.

We've installed a corner bumper at the entrance end of our dock and tied a ball fender to the dock in the same place. I share John's view that the corner wheels are not ideal for use with larger boats. I've seen (heard, actually) one of them simply pop when a heavy boat careened into it with a lot of momentum. I've also seen them bent back and up. I think they're probably fine for lighter-weight boats or are used only as guides into a slip or boathouse. But I wouldn't want to depend on it for protection against a hard sideways hit.
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Old 07-11-2008, 05:46 PM   #7
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RE: Dock bumpers

Yeah, I see the big problem with the "training wheels" is that, if the shaft or wheel break, you have hard steel left behind.* If the bumpers were to let go, you have wood left behind.*

I don't need a bow bumper as I'll take out the electrical box on the dock first.* Most of the double slips in the marina have the electrical box in between the boats -- but my slip has a big transformer mounted there, and each of the two boats has its electric service box almost square on the bow.* So I tend to stop the boat way before getting anywhere near the front of the slip.

So I think next week (when I get back up to the boat) the bumpers will be one of the first tasks.

Thanks for the input!
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:21 PM   #8
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RE: Dock bumpers

The bow bumpers work for our boat because of the GB's almost plumb stem. Even though there is a dock box front of our boat, the stem won't actually hit it. But I can see how a raked bow could pose a problem in this respect.
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Old 04-17-2014, 11:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Keith View Post
Dock bumpers are a great idea; most marinas I've been in have them. Just don't get BLACK! Leaves really nasty dock rash.
The simple answer to all that dock rash is GOOF OFF or Acetone. I had quite a few scrapes from the plastic dock bumpers which I couldn't polish or compound off easily at all. Then found that Goof Off (Profressional strength) on a rag and they simply wipe off! A bit of polish afterwards and she looks like new. I believe Acetone will work just as well.

I think the white dock fenders are mostly PVC which is much softer than geloat or Awlgrip and so the paint is unharmed when there is a scrape. Afterwards the messy PVC smear can be wiped off for pride to return to the Captain!

Knowing how easy dock rash it is to remove, I am more confident now when docking.
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Old 04-18-2014, 06:08 AM   #10
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like Anchors

BIGGER IS BETTER,

Dont cheap out.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:08 AM   #11
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These:

are fine but not a substitute for fenders attached to the boat. Fenders attached to the boat will roll with the boat's motion when docking or in the slip. "Bumpers" or fenders attached to the slip will not and will rub the gelcoat or paint.

The round wheels mentioned above may be OK for an 18' runabout, but not for a larger, heavier boat. They will break if pushed hard and what remains will really damage the boat.

As posted above, Acetone will take care of dock rash.
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Old 04-18-2014, 11:45 AM   #12
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Quote:
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These:

are fine but not a substitute for fenders attached to the boat. Fenders attached to the boat will roll with the boat's motion when docking or in the slip. "Bumpers" or fenders attached to the slip will not and will rub the gelcoat or paint.
I have to agree with Ron. When Sea Eagle was in Sausalito, the slip was too narrow to actually use the boat's large hanging fenders, so the previous owner had attached the strip fendering pictured above. Every time the ferry went by and the boat rolled, it squealed loudly as the hull rubbed on the fixed fendering. It also did damage to the rub rail from the constant abrasion.

I use the same fixed fendering now, but widely spaced so there is room between them for the large hanging fenders. That gives me the best of both worlds, with the hanging fenders riding with the boat as it rolls, but the fixed fendering providing a cushion if the hanging fenders collapse (or get crushed).

YMMV,
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Old 04-18-2014, 12:41 PM   #13
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I have the Nomar bumpers you show in the picture mounted in my slip. There are good things and bad things about them, as with many things.

First the good--they do a good job of protecting the boat when you're backing into the slip. They keep you from bumping into the wood that lines most slips so therefore they protect your hull and gelcoat.

The bad--they hold dust and dirt and, like someone mentioned, if your boat rubs against them they will wear the gelcoat. I pressure wash my fenders annually to get rid of the dirt, and when my boat is in the slip it's tied so that it can't touch the fenders. I have finger docks on both sides of my boat and I have adjusted the dock lines so the boat stays centered in the slip.
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Old 04-18-2014, 01:47 PM   #14
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The OP posted this...

"I'm thinking about installing dock bumpers.* They don't ride up and they should give me another few inches between the dock and my neighbor."

He's talking for docking I believe...not permanent fendering. If in a slip...unless you only tie to one side...you shouldn't need any fenders to scratch your boat...the docklines should hold the boat away from everything if adjusted correctly. If you WISH to ride against a fender...some do that to make boarding easier...but in places with lots of wakes/waves...your gel is at risk even with covered fenders.

Talyor makes "docking wheels" up to 18" and to boats 40 feet....

Smooth rolling wheels offer substantial dock cushioning and feature molded-in valves to adjust the level of firmness. Heavy duty hot-dipped galvanized hardware mounts securely to the dock. 12" and 18" wheels use a large 2" diameter axle housing for maximum strength.

If you use as designed...to roll around a corner...they are fine...my marina has up to 3 knots of current every moon tide and are used by some. If you don't PLAN on using it and slam into it...yes they might fail.


But I have seen people use regular tires and axle stubs for trailers and dock hundred foot plus barges on them....screw some regular dock rail onto them and you can easily slip your mega yacht into the dock.

Heck with all the proponents out there for twins and thrusters...can't imagine someone having an issue with docking.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:10 PM   #15
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Acetone works well. Last "uh oh" episode, however, was docking my 13-foot wide boat in a 13-foot wide berth. Left a 10-foot white strip on the green hull. It was a thick (deep) stripe, but a high-powered water stream stripped it away.
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Old 04-18-2014, 02:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
"I'm thinking about installing dock bumpers.* They don't ride up and they should give me another few inches between the dock and my neighbor."

He's talking for docking I believe...not permanent fendering. If in a slip...unless you only tie to one side...you shouldn't need any fenders to scratch your boat...the docklines should hold the boat away from everything if adjusted correctly.
I read that as inferring that he is trying to get more space/separation between his boat and the neighbor's boat that shares the slip with him, so he only has the finger pier on one side and does need fendering. Of course, I could be wrong, it wouldn't be the first time....
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Old 04-18-2014, 09:12 PM   #17
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We'll have to wait and see what the OP says...but with him starting off with boat handling...I'm betting he just wants to slide in long a rubstrip rather than bulky fenders. Once in and tied up the room is less of an issue and regular fenders could be put in place to handle the normal issues.
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Old 04-19-2014, 08:40 AM   #18
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There's also a low-tech, cheapo way to do this. On my sailboat, I used a few tires screwed to the dock and covered with a single long piece of carpet. Sounds awful, but it actually looked neat and tidy and you couldn't ask for a softer landing pad while docking! especially if you're sailing into the slip, as we sometimes did. Once docked, the lines held the boat off the carpet so it never rubbed.
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Old 04-19-2014, 01:44 PM   #19
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I used a cheap but effective alternative too. I did line the edges of our slip with that white rubber bumper stuff - easy and effective and not a million bucks. However, I also bought a couple inflatable, gray, non-marking, 10" utility tires from Harbor Freight. Much stronger and less squishy - and much, much cheaper than the Taylor dock wheels. Threw away the mounting brackets. Used a big bolt for an axle and mounted them on heavy white 4" pvc pipe caps (nylon insert nut on the inside of the cap) then cemented the caps and wheels on 4" pvc pipe posts at a custom height to run along the hull just where they need to be. I put one of those at each of the two outside corners of our slip so if I come in sloppy the wheels run along the hull and shove me where I need to be. A good docking is when I never touch the wheels or the bumper strips coming in.
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