On the Water
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things that go BUMP on the dock

By Mark R. Johnson
Published: May 1, 2006
Photo by ShoreStation
You can’t walk through a boat show, marina or dock shop without bumping into dock bumpers – and lots of them.
And if you have a boat and/or a dock that you care about, bumpers are important. Their main purpose is to protect your boat and your dock, so they’re especially important in those areas where there is boat traffic coming and going, loading and unloading.
If you’re in the market for some dock bumpers to protect your boat from your dock or vice versa,
here are some shopping tips:
    • How much do you want to spend? Bumpers vary in price and quality. Some are made of simple foam; they’re inexpensive but won’t last many seasons. On the other end are high-quality bumpers – some, like those pictured, feature a galvanized steel core covered with soft plastic – that will cost more but will last and last.
    • Do you care about aesthetics? If so, look for bumpers that match the color of your dock so they appear to be part of your dock, not an add-on.
    • How do the bumpers mount to the dock? If your cabin guests sometimes bring their boats or you frequently have visitors arriving by boat, you may need to adjust your bumpers from time to time. In this case, look for bumpers that attach easily to the dock without tools so you can easily move and rearrange them as needed.
    • Is your dock subject to variable water levels or wave action from wind or boat traffic? If so, look for bumpers big enough to protect the boat both above and below the water line. There’s nothing more disconcerting than seeing your boat wedged beneath your dock!

Bumpers pictured from ShoreStation, www.shorestation.com.
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