What are Marine Fenders?

These are the marine equipment’s specially designed for the purpose of imparting safety to the port and vessels against collision with other vessels. These are special equipment designed to provide the cushion effect to ship, boats or other naval vessels when they experience collision against other vessels, wharves, piers and ports or berths. These are also referred as marine bumpers.

Marine fenders are a type of marine equipment that are used to prevent boats, ships and other naval vessels from colliding against each other or against docks, wharves and piers. In other words, marine fenders can be simply termed as a marine bumper.

Marine fenders are important marine equipment as they prevent loss to the body of a boat or a ship. The fender systems that are used in naval vessels have evolved continuously throughout the times and now are devised in such a way that the prevention process is almost faultless and foolproof.

Marine fenders, in today’s times are employed in such a way that they are kept on the hull or the head of a boat or a ship in order to prevent casualty to the hull or the head of the naval vessel if there is any collision happening between boats. However, at the same time, marine fenders are also employed in piers, docks, wharves and other regular boat entrance and exit points on a permanent basis.

Marine Fender

This permanent fixing of marine fenders help because, in case there is a heavy traffic of boats passing through from a particular dockyard, and there is an accident or a collision then the casualty to the boat and the dockyard will be both minimised to a great extent.

Fender systems have been devised in order to protect all vehicles from damage caused due to accidents. When it comes to marine fenders, the marine equipment is one of the best technological advancements to have occurred in contemporary times.

Even in the earlier centuries, fender systems were used to prevent loss to a naval vessel’s torso but the concept and idea has evolved more in the modern times than in the past. Through successful innovations and initiations, there are a wide variety of marine fender systems available which act as excellent marine equipment.

There are various types of marine fenders which have emerged over the years and which provide excellent utility in the area of water transportation. The wide variety of marine fenders ensures that sufficient options are provided so as to enable a person or an authority to choose the best possible fender system or marine fender.

During its voyage, a vessel has to approach port for loading and unloading of crew and commodities and to other vessel for supplying and accepting certain commodities; in these cases there are definite chances of collision and during collision huge amount of energy is transferred which causes fatality to its crew and damage to vessel itself, port and commodities. Marine fenders prevent either the head or hull of a vessel to collide with any other water body. The certain features for which a port authority has to look after before buying the marine fenders are briefed as follows:

i) These marine bumpers should be made up of high performance materials which require no or little maintenance.

ii) These are to be designed in such a way that they can serve all the working demands for which these are deployed.

iii) These marine fenders should be capable of serving to all their commitments in all prevailing environmental conditions.

iv) The marine fenders should be durable i.e. they are so designed and developed so as to serve a longer period of time.

Categorizations Of Marine Fenders

Marine Fenders can be categorized in different types on the basis of location where these are fitted and material they are made up of.

On The Basis Of Material

 The different sorts of marine bumpers available in the market as per the material they are made up of are as follows:

  1. Rubber Fenders
  2. Foam Fenders
  3. Composite Fenders

1) Rubber Fenders: Rubber fenders are developed in wide range of variations to serve different applications. These fenders are developed complying with PIANC guiding principles. Rubber Fenders decrease the input reaction force and provide requisite angular guidance to the hull pressure. These are the fenders which have highest market demand. These fenders also have a positive impact on rubber industries round the globe. There noticed a great advancement and growth of rubber industry due to marine application of rubber in last ten years. There are many types of rubber fenders, manufactured by different shipping accessory companies, which are detailed as follows:

a) Super Cone Fenders: These are the latest sort of rubber fenders and generally referred as “Cone Fenders”. The conical body of the cone fenders keep them stabilised at even higher values of compression angles. They are highly efficient and provide optimum performance. They have better resistance to shear and over-compression. Their geometry plays a significant role in their stability. Today, rubber compounds find their widespread application in marine industry and extensively used for manufacturing of Cone Fenders.

b) SCK Cell Fenders: These fenders have simpler design which is the main reason for their popularity. These high performing fenders have great strength. These cell fenders are available in vast size range and capable of supporting large panels. These cell fenders are preferably found appropriate for systems which deal with hull at low level.

c) Arch Fenders: This type of marine equipment is used in order to provide aid and assistance to a type of marine fender known as the cylindrical fender. Since the maintenance aspect in arch fenders is absolutely zero, it is one of the best marine equipment and the best fender system. Arch fenders can be used for small and mid-ranged ships and boats and provide excellent quality service to the same.

These fenders are favoured when there is a need of rough marine fender system. These are most reliable fenders which serve their purpose victoriously even in severe most conditions. These allow easy installation. These are excellent in wear resistance and shear resistance. If these fenders are to be provided on corners of harbor these are called as Corner Arch Fenders.

d) Leg Fenders: These are the fenders which can be easily installed due to their modular design. A main advantage of these fenders is that they require less or no maintenance. Leg fenders are majorly opted at locations where the area on which fenders are to be mounted is limited.

e) Parallel motion Fenders: These can reduce the overall reaction to about 60% more as compared to conventional cone fenders. These are somewhat similar to leg fenders with difference that parallel motion fenders are vertical non tilting type fenders, but still capable of catering berth or vessel at 20° without energy dissipation.

f) Slide in Slide Out Fenders (or SISO Fenders): These fenders have frontal frame to which wear pads are fastened with the help of bolts. For maintenance purpose and in case of failure the complete assembly of fenders is not needed to be changed but the replacement made is conforming to only wear pads with sliding panel, which are to be replaced with newer ones. Sliding panels can be easily removed from guide rails and replaced with spare panels. So their maintenance is quite easier and can be quickly availed for services when go out of order.

g) Cylindrical Fenders: They are the most basic and common fender systems used in today’s times. They can be used for all types of marine boats and ships and they are quite economical too when the aspect of fitting them up is taken into account.

These are easy to install, widely used fenders with simpler design. They can serve to both large as well as small vessels. As per the requirement of cylindrical fenders, these are available in three size categories: Small Cylindrical Fenders, Intermediate Cylindrical Fenders and Large Cylindrical Fenders. These fenders are economical and have thick walls which can efficiently resist wear, abrasion and higher loads.

h) Extruded Fenders: These are the rubber fenders with simpler design and are directly fastened using bolt fasteners to the structure. These fenders are highly flexible and can fit any length and even curves.

i) Composite Fenders (Rubbylene): These are the fenders which are made up of composite rubber compounds and provide maximum resilience to the vessel. These fenders are made up with tough materials having lower coefficient of friction and maximum resistance to wear.

j) Marine Fender Bars: These fenders are made up of high performance tough bars which have highest impact resistance. These bars have wider flexibility of application. They can be installed at all sorts of locations.

k) Pneumatic Fenders: These are the ideal choice for inter ship dealings and port accessories. Their deployment is quick and robust. At the time of docking the pneumatic fenders minimize the risk of damage and safeguards both people and cargo. These fenders should comply with quality assurance guidelines of ISO issued in 2014. These are of five types namely: chain-tire net (CTN) pneumatic fenders; Sling type fenders; low pressure pneumatic fenders; hydo-pneumatic fenders and. The CTN pneumatic fender has a network of tyres connected with chains in horizontal as well as vertical direction to protect the fender body. As the chains remains in water all the time so must be made up of corrosion resistant galvanized materials. These are simplest and cheaper type of marine fenders which increases the clearance between structure and the hull to a larger extent. Sling type pneumatic fenders are similar to chain type fenders with the only difference that fenders can be slung with even ropes made up of meshed wire strands than chains. Low pressure pneumatic fenders are the type of pneumatic fenders which deliver minimum pressure to the hull by absorbing kinetic energy to a maximum extent by providing maximum contact surface. Hydro-pneumatic Fenders: These are the pneumatic fenders which are made in compliance to the need of fender.

2) Form Fenders

The structure of these fenders is a dual-layered closed cell structure. The inner core of foam fenders is made up of polyethylene foam and reinforced polyurethane elastomer is used as covering to the core. The water penetration in these type of fenders is approximately nil. These can serve continuously throughout their life and even when damaged. There are different sorts of foam fenders:

a) Sea-Guard fenders: These can serve equally well in floated as well as suspended conditions. These fenders are available for both ship as well as harbor and have easy maintenance works. These fenders are mostly employed in ship-to-ship operation and cannot be destroyed or destructed. These fenders are unsinkable and deflation-free. Most of the foam fenders are manufactured on the guidelines of US navy stipulations.

b) Sea-cushion fenders: These are rough and tough fenders. These are floating fenders to be employed in roughest situation and the core used in their manufacturing is of superior grade then in sea-guard fenders. It has a network of chain tire with hard core which serves as a unsinkable and sea-cushion. These are most reliable and efficient sort of foam fenders used for LNG vessels which require least maintenance.They find their application in LNG ships because they cannot burst.

c) Donut Fenders: These are a special sort of marine fenders and moreover a type of berth fenders which are used as a guide or a turn structure. For the alignment of ships these fenders have tubular pile which can be rotated. These are made up of nylon filament reinforced in polyurethane skin. These are available in bright colours for improved visible access. As it is a sort of form fenders so require less maintenance.

3.) Composite Fenders

 These are the fenders which can be made up of any sort of composite materials. All sorts of Tug Fenders are considered in this category

a) Tug Fenders: These are only vessel fenders and installed on a tug vessel. These fenders are exposed to maximum wear and abrasion so these are made up of toughest materials which are capable of bearing greater degree of wear and abrasion, to which a ship is exposed due to water currents and other ship. So that the fenders can serve longer life with maximum efficiency. These can be cylindrical, tapered, key hole, M- and W-tug fenders on the basis of geometrical features. These all are ship fenders and somehow similar to one another with only difference in geometric design. All of these tug boat fenders are made up of extremely tough materials so as to resist wearing and shearing offered to the ship by other ship and the water current. All these fenders are heavy duty fenders and different design enable efficient working in different condition.

On The Basis Of Location They Are Fitted: On The Basis Of Location Of Fenders These Are Of Two Types Namely:

1.) Ship Fenders: These are the fenders which are installed to the ship so as to have increased clearance while having ship-to-ship dealing. Tug boat fenders fall in this category. These fenders should be made up of material stronger than that used in dock fenders because the ship fenders are exposed to more severe conditions than the dock fenders.

2.) Dock Fenders: Dock fenders are the sort of fenders which are installed at harbor and provide protection to ship and dock at the time of docking. Leg fenders and parallel flow fenders are the examples of such sorts of fenders.

All these fenders serve the primary purpose of absorbing high kinetic energy so that the shock experienced by the dock or the ship is minimized so as to cause no harm to the cargo and the crew.

W Fenders:

These type of marine fenders are used mainly to aid the larger ships and boats because they offer a high rate of resistance and thus better protection to the water-crafts in case of any accident occurring.

Other types of marine fenders are the I fender, Cell Fender, Cone Fender and the Pneumatic Fender which along with the other three marine fenders, help in providing a very viable and feasible solution to the problem of accidents and collisions of naval vessels.

Precautions While Working With Marine Fenders

  • A certain degree of softness in fender is necessary for efficiently absorbing the kinetic energy and thrust, but it should be hard enough to bear the impact.
  • Fenders should not burst while in operation.
  • Proper repair works and maintenance should be carried out to ensure maximum safety.

Having a shipping conglomerate is a very important thing, but equally important is the preventive measure employed to safeguard the naval vessels in case of any collision. Fixing fender systems to one’s boats and ships therefore is the best idea and the best safety procedure that can be applied and used not just effectively but also productively.

Future Of Fender Industry

In the last decade there has been observed a great advancement in Marine Fender industries round the globe. Not only this but also marine fender industry is also responsible for development and growth of rubber industry as well due to enhanced usage of pneumatic and rubber fenders. As per the latest report issued by “Global Maritime Fenders (Marine Fender) Market Growth 2019-2024″ it is the highest growth rate observed in Marine Fender Industries throughout the world. This report also published about major suppliers; customers; distributers; etc. which are concerned with fender industry. United States topped in the fenders production.


So in short we can say the maritime equipments installed for ensuring safety of ship and crew, during ship to ship dealing or during docking are termed as Marine Fenders. These Marine fenders absorb the shock and kinetic energy from the ship and reduces the reactions to the structure or hull to minimum. These are significant instruments to deploy safety to ships. Marine Fenders can be categorised in different types on the basis of location where fitted and material they are made up. Many sort of fenders are available in market eg. Leg fenders; cone fenders; cylindrical fenders; tug boat fenders; pneumatic fenders; etc and serve specific purpose for which they are made. Marine fenders prevent either the head or hull of a vessel to collide with any other water body. These fenders should be made up with tough materials having lower coefficient of friction and maximum resistance to wear. These marine bumpers should be made up of high performance materials which require no or little maintenance. These are to be designed in such a way that they can serve all the working demands for which these are deployed. These marine fenders should be capable of serving to all their commitments in all environmental conditions. The marine fenders should be durable i.e. they are so designed and developed so as to serve a longer period of time. So durability and strength are the main criteria for selection of any kind of fender. With this huge significance of marine fenders in maritime industry, there arises an increase in demand of the fenders which in turn resulted in advancement of global marine fender industries. There has been waiting a prosperous future of marine fenders ahead.

You also like to read – What is a Dock Bumper?

Do you have info to share with us ? Suggest a correction

Subscribe To Our Newsletters

By subscribing, you agree to our Privacy Policy and may receive occasional deal communications; you can unsubscribe anytime.

Web Stories


  1. alangkah baiknya jika gambar yg di munculkan jg di lengkapi Specification of Material

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *