The Best Type of Boat Fender: Inflatable vs. Non-Inflatable

The Best Type of Boat Fender: Inflatable vs. Non-Inflatable

Fenders aren’t just for cars. Watercraft can also make use of a little reinforcement along the sides when they’re moored. When it comes to fenders for boats, there are two major groups to choose from in protecting your boat. Let’s determine the best type of boat fender: inflatable vs. non-inflatable.

Inflatable Fenders: What To Love, What To Worry About

Here’s something to get pumped up about. Inflatable fenders are a simple, versatile, and cost-effective means of protecting your boat from accidental contact with docks and other boats. Inflatable fenders consist of vinyl-coated air sacs that you can inflate to your liking. They come in a variety of sizes to accommodate a full range of watercraft. While they do require you to do the inflating on your own, you should only need something as simple as a manual bike tire pump to get the air flowing. If you’re a casual boater on a factory-standard craft, inflatable fenders are a smart choice. However, be warned: inflatable fenders are susceptible to punctures and abrasions, damage that can deflate them and permanently put them out of commission.

Non-Inflatable Fenders: The Pros and Cons

Not all fenders are inflatable, however, and not all boats can take them on. Providing an alternative is an array of non-inflatable options for boat fenders. Typically, these are made of molded plastic or foam rubber. Unlike inflatables, they’re ready to go right out of the box. Also, unlike inflatable fenders, which are limited to a narrow range of spherical, cylindrical, and ovoid shapes, non-inflatable fenders can take on a broader spectrum of unorthodox shapes and sizes. Some of these fenders may be specially tapered to better fit the contours of a boat. Pontoon boats, which often have sharper corners than others, can use specialty non-inflatable fenders to best protect those corners. Remember that with non-inflatable fenders, you can’t adjust the hardness of the surface by adding or subtracting air—what you have is what you have. Also, without relying on air to do the job, these fenders can be quite a bit heavier.

Which Is Right for Me and My Boat?

Determining the best type of boat fender for your craft is an important decision. Your boat is a significant investment, and fenders protect that investment. At Innovative Marine, we offer inflatable boat fenders for sale that provide that necessary buffer between boats and docks or boats and other boats. With an expansive selection of shapes and sizes, we’re confident you can find the inflatable fender you need. As for those non-inflatable fenders, your boat probably won’t need them, but as a last resort, don’t sleep on the idea of them as a backup.

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