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How to Attach Boat Fenders on a Pontoon?

Your Pontoon demands extra attention for you to keep its new look alike. Unlike other boats, pontoon boats are different in shapes, sizes, features, and specifications. That is why you will have to be extra careful while choosing the right fender and bumper for your pontoon. Because of the difference with other types of boats, many people have confusion about how to attach boat fenders on a pontoon.

Spending money on the pontoon will be a waste when you see an unwanted dent or a massive scratch on your pontoon. Even if you are careful enough, another boat won’t clash or bump against your boat is not impossible. Especially in heavy traffic or boat, protecting your dock and boat is only possible by attaching the right boat fenders and bumpers for your pontoon.

Many of the pontoons come with built-in bumpers with the boat. But with time, it gets damaged. And for extra protection of your precious pontoon, you will need to install fenders on your pontoon. So it really does not matter whether you are doing it for the first time or replacing your old ones, you have to have proper knowledge about the boat fenders for your pontoon.

Pontoon fenders are different in type. You can get different shapes and sizes of pontoon fenders that fit right according to your pontoon’s specifications. It is entirely up to you how you want to secure your pontoons using fenders. You will require extra accessories and tools like cleats, bumpers, wirings, etc., to properly secure the edge, corner, and dock of your pontoon.

Making the right choice for a pontoon fender is essential as you have to keep in mind its sizes, shape, length, width, diameter, etc., for securing and protecting your pontoon precisely. It also depends on the number of fenders you are attaching and the quality of the fenders. To save a few bucks, don’t settle for the cheap quality fenders or buy fewer fenders required for your pontoon.

How to Attach Boat Fenders on a Pontoon

The Number of Boat Fenders You will Need for Your Pontoon:

For securing your pontoon from all the sides, corners, you will have to attach fenders according to the size and length of your pontoon. It is recommended to use at least three fenders for your pontoon. You can add additional ones if you feel like you require more to better protect from scratches and damages.

As a rule of thumb, it is suggested to attach one fender for every ten feet of the waterline.

The Right Size of the Boat Fenders for Your Pontoon:

Without choosing the right size offenders for your boat, you won’t be able to secure it fully. As I already have mentioned before, the size and shapes of the fenders will depend on your pontoon’s size.

For the bigger boats and pontoons, you will require fenders with long and broader specifications. Otherwise, these inflatable accessories won’t come to any use to protect your pontoon from any clash, damage, or scratches.

A rule of thumb for the fender’s size is that for every five feet of the boat, a fender with an additional inch of diameter is required. So, if you have a thirty-foot-long boat, you will need the fender’s diameter to be six inches.

This specification may vary according to the type and specification, configurations of both the pontoons and the fenders.

How to Attach Boat Fenders on a Pontoon:

I have already mentioned in the upper sections that many fenders and bumpers are designed especially for the pontoon boats to offer better protection and fitting according to the boats’ specifications.

You can get different kinds of fenders for your pontoon to ensure complete protection and safety for different parts of your pontoon.

Moreover, different pontoon fenders offer different types of installing processes for better convenience. How you are going to attach your pontoon fender is entirely up to you.

But it is best to look for the ones with an easier installing and removal process. You can hang your fenders horizontally or vertically. And you can also install it by drilling on the rails (Rail fenders). But many people don’t want to drill a hole in their pontoon rails. As a result, most people opt for the ones with an easy hanging installation process.

It is better to communicate with the professionals or your pontoon distributor to figure out the right fender attaching process according to your pontoons specification for better and useful suggestions. If they suggest you drill your fenders, you can do that. But if they offer alternative options ensuring the same safety and protection for other types of fenders or other installing processes, I would suggest you go for alternative ones.

It is just my personal choice that I don’t prefer drilling through the pontoon’s railing much. I would instead attach extra fenders on other sides or be willing to spend extra not to do that.

Different types of fenders are available for pontoons to ensure the customers can move their pontoons freely without worrying about heavy traffic on the beach. The fenders available for pontoons are:

  • Flat fenders.
  • Rounder or ball fenders.
  • Cylindric fenders.
  • Side fenders
  • Corner fenders
  • Transom fenders
  • Dock fenders
  • Fence saver fenders
  • Dock wheels.

All of these fenders provide excellent safety and protection to different parts of your pontoons. These fenders come in various shapes and are designed for additional protection purposes with different attaching processes. You can find many brands and models offering these pontoon fenders with incredible high-quality, sturdy material, durability, long-term functional features, etc.

Some of these fenders come with an easy attaching procedure where some require you to take an expert’s help for the first few times to get used to the procedure.

You can easily hang some of the quality inflatable fenders for your pontoon with a rope, cabling, or wiring, where some require mounting with the following specific steps.

Securing the Fenders Using Clips and Cleats:

As most of the pontoons come with their built-in clips, cleats to attach bumper and fenders on your boat, securing boat bumpers and fenders with the cleats and clip, bolts should not be an issue. But if it does not match with the specification of your newly bought pontoon fenders or your older tools and accessories get lost, you can always buy them separately from the market.

You can easily attach the pontoon fenders with cleats. You don’t have to drill them; it won’t damage any part of your boat, as well. These rubber reinforcement tools and accessories support the boat entirely from any uncertain damage.

Securing the Fenders Using Clips and Cleats

In earlier, the main drawback of attaching through the clips and cleats was partial drilling requirements.

But now, you can easily attach the fenders, ensuring stable protection to your pontoons without any drilling or using screws to attach the fenders.

This process allows you to place your fenders on the square rails fitting tightly to your pontoons’ rail for better placing and stable convenience.

Mounting Fenders Without Drilling:

If your fender or boat specification doesn’t go with the cleats and clip attaching process, you can use suitable adjuster and mounting tools to install your fenders correctly.

These allow sturdy protection in the easiest attaching process for your pontoon fenders.

But this mounting and adjusting process is not for all kinds of pontoons. This is especially true if your boat is designed with a thicker fence on the boat’s upper rail and a fixed sitting arrangement on the rails. So you have to be careful of these facts if you are considering this easy attaching process.

These offer incredible stainless steel quality for better durability and anti-rust feature.

Attaching Fenders Through Spring Links:

The most commonly used drilling installing process features using spring attaching links on the top of your rail. You will have to drill it a bit to attach the spring links properly. And from there, you can easily use rope or wirings for hanging your fenders efficiently.

This pontoon fender attaching process is popular for easier installing and unclipping features. But it also has some drawbacks.

If you want to enjoy your pontoon rides on saltwater, it is better not to use spring links as the aluminum ones tend to get pretty rusty and loses credibility on a few uses. For freshwater, this process can be pretty handy and cheap.

You can go for the stainless steel quality springs to avoid rustiness in the brackets and rails of your pontoon. It includes a rubber reinforcement between the fence and bracket to avoid damaging the rails or any boat parts.

Attaching Fenders Through Spring Links

You can go for any attaching process convenient according to your pontoons and fenders’ specification that fits in your budget. But I will suggest you not settle for cheap quality materials for your pontoon’s fender installation.

It would help if you also were careful about placing the fenders and adequately storing them carefully after removing them every time. Many people think as you need it to attach it every time docking in and out, it is really not essential to unclip or remove them. If you don’t remove it after docking in or out, your fenders will wear out soon or might be lost as well. Sometimes they load additional weight on the boats dragging down in the water.

Video Credit – Denison Yachting


Video Credit – BoatingWithBoogaboo


So it is recommended to install and uninstall pontoon fenders after every time you dock in and out. It is another smart and clever to keep your pontoon fender new alike for longer years.

Another thing that you should not be ignorant about is keeping them clean. Clean your fenders regularly, as most of the fenders and bumpers are usually air-filled inside the hollow body. Whenever they get pushed against another object, it releases the inside air.

You can buy an additional hand pump to inflate the boat bumpers and fenders for your pontoon. Not all the fenders or bumpers have this feature, though.

Hopefully, you have got adequate knowledge about how to attach fenders for your pontoon. You can choose the one with the easier specification, the connecting process according to your suitability. Spend time to know different product specifications in the market for landing on the right decision.

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