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post #38 of Old 03-20-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Tires as Fenders

Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
casey, if the boat is small enough, there are things called "dock whips" or something like that. They are fiberglass rods that you bolt vertically onto the dock. Then you bend them down, over the boat, and tie the end to the far side of the boat.

The rod tries to straighten out, which in turn pushes the boat away from the dock.

Not perfect, but they can help if sized properly and at least in moderate conditions.

Tires that are in the water or soaked with tidal changes, will grow barnacles and those of course will chew up the hull. So like any other fender the tires should be kept high enough to be dry.

Of course, you could try something industrial along the lines of shock absorbers, pinned into the dock on one end, pinned into the boat on the other. Or light truck springs from the junkyard, holding off a padded fender board. I have no idea how much "brute force" you'll need to gentle down that dock but sometimes a clever machine shop can suggest something, if you're allowed to install things.
I looked into the dock whips a couple years ago and could not find one big enough. I will try to find some golf cart tires. Seems those would be flexible enough and small enough diameter to stay dry above water line. They probably do not have steel belts. I will keep with the Taylor fenders (try to get replacement for leaking one) but tires would be a good back up. Thing I like about tires is they cannot fail. Taylor may honor their life warranty, but that does little good if your boat is damaged. At my harbor, I have seen numerous boats damaged after the fender deflated. Problem is the fender is most likely to fail during a big surge event, the time when you need that fender the most.

Curious as to why no maker fills the fender with a light weight foam to make them "run flat" fenders.
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