Boat Fenders

The boat fenders protect your vessel and enhance your boat’s appearance and quality. Some might say that dirty fenders are not that necessary. This is not true as dirty fenders mean a dirty boat, and boat owners take pride in their vessel’s appearance. There is no better way of spoiling the look of your vessel than docking with dirty fenders hanging from the rails. Keeping the fenders clean is that way to protect your boat and reputation at the same time. Dirty fenders leave stains and streaks of the hull that become impossible to remove with time. That is why cleaning your fenders is a necessary activity to keep your boat’s health and longevity. Here we will give you everything you need to clean your fenders and keep them in great shape.

Understand the Fenders

Understand that the boat fenders you use are to protect your boat from impact during docking our collisions. During their activity, you can expect stains, scruffs, or even discoloration. Fortunately, you have various ways to clean the fenders and make them look their best. It all starts with an understanding of the construction of the fenders. Many fenders have a coating of marine-grade vinyl that is highly durable and needs appropriate cleaners. Similarly, another construction material requires a different type of cleaners. Understand the material of your fender and ensure that you use certified cleaners for the best results.

Cleaning Process

The process of cleaning the Boat Fenders requires soapy water in a bucket, cleaner, scrubbing brush, pressure washer, and tent pegs.

  • Pre-Cleaning

The first step is to take the boat fenders out of the water. If you try to clean them while remaining in the water, you will have a hard time. Once removed, use a scrub and soap water for the pre-cleaning process. Keep scrubbing and use a power washer to remove mildew and debris from the surface. After pre-cleaning, you have very stubborn dirt remaining that requires you to use a chemical approach. A word of caution is not to use the washer with too much pressure, or else you might blow a hole rather than clean.

  • Scrubbing Phase

After pre-cleaning, you have tough stains or stubborn dirt remaining on the boat fender. For the phase of long scrub, use an abrasive sponge that has a surface similar to sandpaper. Remember not to use something with too much abrasion, or else it will further damage the fender surface. You have to scrub the surface gently for long until the removal of dirt and stains. You can also use a hard bristled brush to remove the dirt.

  • Use of Solvent and Chemical Solution

Even after extended scrubbing, some sticky dirt of mildew will remain. Here you will use a certified solvent or cleaner to remove it altogether. Keep caution, though, as some solvents might leave a sticky residue that only sanding can remove. If you have decided to use a cleanser, then apply that on a small area of your boat fender and observe the effects. A safe option for you is to use specially formulated cleaners, as marine-grade vinyl is the standard material for fender making. Use a cleaner formulated for such material to avoid using any harsh or abrasive solvent and hard rubbing. Another point to consider is the use of a solvent that does not harm the environment or marine life. You do not want to pollute the ocean unwillingly trying to clean your fenders.

  • Apply Final Protectant

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Once your fender goes through cleaning and scrubbing, it usually removes the protective covering. Even if there was no covering present before, it is a good idea to add one now. Use a waxing product or specialized vinyl coating to add the final protective layer. Application of protective layer ensures that the fender lasts longer and maintains the surface.

Maintenance Tips

  • Stow the fenders away when not in use to keep them clean. They will naturally get dirty if they remain in the water, and stowing them away will prevent this from happening
  • Use fender covers for boat fenders that seem beyond cleaning. Covers will prevent further damage from happening to fenders
  • Clean them continuously to prevent mildew and debris from damaging them. If you clean them regularly, then there is no chance of dust buildup
  • Never try to paint the fenders as it will react with the vinyl and damage the material. Apply the cleaning solvent and protective layer only

Final Word

For boat owners, a clean boat is their pride that tarnishes if dirty fenders are hanging. The need to ensure regular cleaning process for the fenders to keep their longevity and operational life. Use the method mentioned to clean your fenders without hassle.