What is a coir boat fender and how do we use them?

An essential accessory for boating enthusiasts of all kinds, coir boat fenders (boat bumpers) prevent damage to the paint and varnish of the gunwales and hulls, from collisions with the dock, jetty or even other boats.

But why do some choose coir over plastic and inflatable boat fenders?


What is coir?

Coir rope is a handcrafted, natural rope product.

Traditionally made along the coastlines of India and Sri Lanka, where coconut palms grow well, coir fibres come from the unripe, fibre-covered inner coconut. These white coir fibres range from sturdier strands that are well suited for brush bristles and woven mats, to finer, more delicate fibres that can be spun to make coir rope, yarns, and agricultural twines.

These ropes and yarns can then be made into mats or boating accessories, which include boat fenders and fishing nets.


Coir fibres once separated from the coconut.

Why use coir instead of synthetic ropes?

Coir is a natural fibre that is incredibly well-suited to use in marine environments, thanks to its range of beneficial properties.

These include being highly resistant to abrasion, microbial action, and saltwater. These factors will extend the life of your coir ropes and boat fenders, making them naturally cost-effective.

Similarly, coir is light and floats in water, helping to ensure they don’t saddle your vessel with too much extra weight and will be easy to recover if they get loose.

Finally, by supporting a natural industry that is still handmade, you are also going some way to supporting a cottage industry that has good environmentally friendly credentials.

A win-win for everyone.


What size boat fender do I need?

The general rule with boat fenders is that the smaller your boat, the smaller the boat fender you will need.

Boat fenders are available in a range of lengths and diameters, making them suitable for a wide range of boats. If you are unsure, there is a great selection of boat fender size charts available online, which can give you a specific answer depending on what you are piloting.

It is important that the boat fenders you choose are sufficiently large enough to buffer any damage that may occur from collisions between your hull and the dock, jetty, or other boats. As such, if you are unsure, slightly oversized fenders might be a safer alternative to slightly too small boat fenders.


How many boat fenders should you use per vessel?

The number of boat fenders you need depends on the size of your boat and where you are approaching possible hazards.

Typically, 2-4 fenders per side should be sufficient if spaced equally along the vessel. Your crew could also utilise a roving fender that isn’t tied on and can be placed where it is needed on the approach, providing extra protection in specific spots at the last minute.

For a more precise formula, you can also place one fender per 10 feet of waterline but make sure there is a minimum of three fenders- no matter the size of your vessel. This means that 3 fenders are required for a 20-foot vessel, 4 fenders for a 40-foot vessel, and so on.

Similarly, at least one fender should be placed at maximum beam, with others distributed fore and aft.


Find coir boat fenders for your vessel today

If you are in the market for boat fenders, consider coir for your next purchase.

Used in maritime pursuits and industries for thousands of years, it has beneficial properties that make it hardwearing, supports traditional local industries, can be much better for the planet than synthetic alternatives and will keep your boat safe from impact or collision damage.



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