Boats using rope boat fenders

Which boat fenders do I need?

This is a question we get asked time and time again, here at Ropes Direct. Boat fenders are an essential piece of boating equipment. But if you’re setting sail for the first time, it can be difficult to know which ones to buy, particularly as there are so many types and styles to choose from.

Ultimately, you need to select a boat fender that is suitable for your boat – whether that be a small fishing vessel or a large catamaran – and you should consider each of the following factors in turn.

3 factors to consider when choosing a boat fender

  1. Shape

Fenders come in a variety of different shapes, but the two most common include cylindrical and ball fenders. Cylindrical fenders are very easy to handle. They can be used vertically or horizontally and are the best option for small, relatively light boats. By contrast, ball fenders are highly robust and tend to be used with larger and heavier boats, for manoeuvring through tight spaces.

One thing to bear in mind is that all fenders onboard your vehicle must be the same shape. Using a mixture of cylindrical and round fenders can place undue stress on your equipment. Therefore, it’s a good idea to choose a shape that is suitable for the size of your boat and stick to it.

  1. Size

Marine fenders also come in various sizes. The right size for you will depend on the length of your vehicle and the height of its hull above water. But as a general rule-of-thumb, the bigger your boat, the larger the boat fenders.

The hull of a large vessel is affected more by wind and waves and, as such, it will need more protection. For every 4-5ft in your boat’s length, you should also increase the diameter of your cylindrical and round fenders by 1 or 2”, respectively.

  1. Quantity

Generally speaking, the more marine fenders you have onboard the better. But when space is limited, this is another factor that you need to consider carefully before making a purchase.

Once again, it all depends on the length of your vehicle. Vessels that measure up to 10m will usually need two boat fenders for each side. For those measuring 10m or more, three or four fenders per side are recommended. It’s also a good idea to have a couple of replacement marine fenders at your disposal and be sure to spread your equipment evenly along the full length of your ship.


Get in touch for further advice

If you’re kitting out your new boat and struggling to identify the right boat fenders for you, please feel free to get in touch. It can be a tricky decision to make on your own. But our team of experts, here at Ropes Direct, are here to help. They demonstrate a wealth of knowledge and experience in this area and can offer tailored advice on the best shape, size and quantity of marine fenders for you.

We currently stock a diverse range of cylindrical and round boat fenders, all of which are lightweight, durable and constructed from high-quality coir rope. So why not call us today on 01692 671721? Or send an email to and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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