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Protecting the topsides when coming alongside a rough harbour wall

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What is the issue?
Some harbour walls can be very uneven, rough or have posts imbedded, that make fender boards necessary to adequately protect the vessels top sides.

Why address this?
It only takes a few minutes against a rough harbour wall for the topsides to be badly marked if not destroyed.

How to address this?
Use a fender board, or batter board, to keep the top sides well away from the wall or piling. Fender boards are quite common on canals where they are used to keep canal boats clear of the rough and often slimy lock walls. In most cases, a fender board is simply a plank suspended from the side of a boat with a standoff to keep the inner face of the plank away from the topsides.

A simple Fender Board
Photo: Cruising East Coast Australia with Norm and Pip

Heavy fender boards are indispensable but are unwieldy and awkward to store aboard. Hence it makes sense to maximise their utility by making them serve many purposes. For instance, as illustrated below, if sections are cut out it will slightly lighten the board and enable it to be used as a ladder. Keeping the cut-outs small will allow fender boards to be used as gangplanks and also to serve as a pushpit seat in vessels with a wide stern cockpit.

Fender boards are heavy so it is best to fix them to the base of the stanchion posts as shown and use steadying lines if there is a lot of movement.

With thanks to:
Michael Harpur, Yacht Obsession.

Fender Boards

Mooring Alongside Using Fender Boards

Docking With Fenderboards

Boat Fendering Tips & Techniques

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