I never pass-up an opportunity to get out on the water. Whether it's a fishing trip with friends or a day cruise with the family.
This means I'm often trying new bodies of water that have different styles of ramps and docking stations.
At a dock or in open water, windy weather, wakes, friends who want to raft up together or other, less cautious boaters, often present opportunities for my vessel to get damaged. I'm always concerned about protecting my investment and keeping it in tip-top shape.
Boat fenders got their name because they 'fend off' other boats and the dock walls. We're all familiar with the traditional round, low pressure inflated fenders. Overall, they do a good job. You can hang them vertically or horizontally but because they're round they could roll, ride up above your gunwale and no longer hang for protection from a hard object. If another boat of a different size is next to you or if you're at a dock that's higher than your boat, the traditional round fender may not protect as much as you need.
There are some other, very innovative fenders available right here from iboats.com. They come in a wide variety of options and colors. 'KwikTek' makes a great product line called 'Hull Hugr Contour Fenders'and 'Hull Hugr Flat Fenders'. They come in different designs and some feature a hinge to protect boats with step-down gunwales that are especially vulnerable to damage from docks.
The Hull Hugr is very strong yet light weight and provides more cushion than the vinyl inflatable alternative. It was a clever feature that will protect better than the round inflatable fenders.
The hinge will wrap around the gunwale and hull, following the contour or simply hang straight down, depending on how you hang it. There were also flat models that don't require the hinged flexibility and a smaller contoured fender specially designed to protect personal watercrafts. They all take up considerably less space when storing as well.
All Hull Hugrs are constructed of an incredibly durable rip proof tri-laminate cover, with closed cell foam inside. They even come in 'giant family size'. There's a Hull Hugr that is 9 feet long and over 2 feet tall with 6 large foam blocks of durable closed-cell foam. They're great for pontoons.
With these great fenders, there's no more worrying about getting damaged at the dock from choppy water or careless boaters. Good fenders provide piece of mind and confidence at very reasonable cost so we'll all know we will be better protected no matter what docking situation arises.
Mike Pleiss lives in Denver, CO and is originally from Omaha, NE. A life-long boater, Mike was born and raised in Omaha and graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.