Many small boats don’t have room enough for storing excess gear, so the best equipment will serve more than one purpose and spend less time just taking up space. Ordinary boat fenders are meant to serve at the dock but the rest of the time they’re only along for the ride. Impact Fenders, a company based in Durango, Colorado, has come up with something different: fenders that make themselves useful not only at the dock but also underway and ashore.

Photographs by the author

The fenders can be bent and then hold that shape to wrap around the rail and provide all-around protection at the dock.

The Impact boat fenders measure 27″ × 12″ × 2″ and have a covering of 32-oz, PVC-coated polyester over closed-cell recycled polyethylene padding. Inside the fender’s foam core there is what the company only identifies as a “pliable material.” It can be bent and hold its shape, a feature that helps protect my boats. The gunwales of my smaller boats are often below the level of the docks that I’ll tie up to, and ordinary fenders, tied to the boat and hanging against the side (beneath the gunwale), leave it unprotected. With Impact’s fenders, I can bend the tops to wrap around the gunwales for full protection.

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