kayak docking bumpers/fenders

I regularly paddle on rivers and lakes that have dock entries and exits. Many of them have include fun restaurant stops. My concern is tying my kayak or 2+ kayaks to a dock without boat fenders. I can’t seem to find lightweight or self-inflatable kayak bumpers. Do they exist??? Some of the metal docks are nasty sharp, and they can easily bang up our kayaks. Thanks!

Swimming noodle segments?
You’ll have to string them sideways anyway, since tying up a kayak is a bit more imprecise than a larger motor boat and you hit the dock at a lower point. So get a swimming noodle with the hole in the middle, cut it into a couple of appropriately longish length, and then tie them off to your deck rigging as needed when you get t the dock. Stow them in a bulkhead.

Why not just pull your boat up…
on the dock.

When we are down in the keys and want to stop at a restaurant that has a dock, that is what we do.

Then just make sure it is out of the way and won’t be a tripping hazard.

Jack L

Yep, pull them up and out of the way…
If you are spending money I’m sure they will work with you and won’t mind.

We’ve pulled as many as 15 kayaks to have lunch.

fenders and more
Thanks for the suggestions on the swimming noodles. Those would be perfect!

I’ve got (2) 15’+ foot boats that I wouldn’t dare try to squeeze onto a tiny walking plank/dock. Most of the marinas and restaurants either have docks that are very high out of the water or the planks are lucky to be wide enough for two relatively thin people to pass, let alone, walk around 2 super long boats. And I think it would be rude of me to assume I could hog up that much space. I’d also be afraid of scratching the heck out of the boats trying to drag them up and out.

I thought that might be the issue
No one I know would go thru the hassle of climbing out of a kayak onto a high dock if they had any choice in the matter. One of the really annoying things with some lakes is that the marinas and restaurants with docks haven’t left any dirt space on their property where it’d be easy to pull boats up, and they are abutted by private property, and the dock walkways are too narrow to make it safe to pull a boat up. So you ae trying to tie off your boats in very inconvenient space along the docks.

Lifting out the boat

– Last Updated: Jun-23-10 12:32 PM EST –

If you have a partner on your outings, it is VERY easy to lift a boat up onto a dock or steep shoreline. I'm continually amazed by the fact that I've yet to meet a single person who has figured this out. Here's what to do. Resist that notion that you must have a person on each end of the boat and that the boat must be dragged up to the point where the other person can grab the stern. Instead, lift one end up until it is about to start dragging. Then, you and your partner get on opposite sides of the boat and "walk your hands" down the length of the boat. The boat will gradually level itself as more and more of the boat passes between you and your partner. When you have both shuffled your hands to the center of the boat, it will have become level, and it won't have touched anything but water while being lifted onto the dock. Reverse the process to put the boat in the water.

Years ago, my dad and I used this method to launch and land a rather heavy wood/canvas rowboat on rocky shorelines and even three-foot-high concrete wingwalls. It was never necessary to drag the boat at all, in spite of the fact that it was much bigger and heavier than any kayak that has ever been made.

Okay, and as far as "hogging space" on the dock, how about carrying the boats off the dock to shore? Most likely there is a lot more space there for them to be placed out of the way.

If you’re in a pinch
You could inflate two paddlefloats and tie those so that they serve as bumpers.

Why do you need fenders?
A kayak isn’t heavy enough to damage itself by bumping against a dock piling. Just tie them up and go eat.

Okay, I’ll bite.

– Last Updated: Jun-24-10 9:16 PM EST –

From the description provided, I have no doubt that those sharp steel edges could chip or scratch gel coat pretty easily unless the water is dead calm. You used to have a series of photos on Webshots illustrating how to repair gel coat, and if gel coat in that condition can be considered worthy of "repair", it seems logical to define the gel coat as "damaged".

My mistake
I didn’t see the metal dock reference. Under those circumstances, yeah, some kind of protection is warranted, but how are you going to keep it in place? Perhaps a better bet would be to anchor the kayaks a few feet away and swim to the dock.

That could be a good idea

– Last Updated: Jun-26-10 1:18 PM EST –

Your anchor idea helped me think of something similar, but taken one step farther to eliminate the swim. Here's what I'm thinking might work (depending on how the space around the dock gets used by other boats). Use the same line to attach to the anchor as for tying the boat to the dock, and thread the line the length of the boat by running it through the handles or the ties for the toggles. Step by step, tying up your boat would be like this:

1. Once onto the dock, reach down and thread a rope through each end-handle of the boat.

2. Tie the anchor to one end of the rope and toss it out there.

3. Pull the rope tight and tie the free end to the dock.

4. Slide the boat along the rope a foot or two back from the dock, and with another rope that's short, tie the near handle of the kayak to the main line so it can no longer slide freely on the main line. Actually, it would be easier to "reverse a loop" in the main line onto the boat handle to lock it in place.

Presto! The boat stays within arm's reach of the dock all the while you are gone. The boat need not stick straight out from the dock "end-wise" either (which might get in the way of other boats). It could stick out at a slight angle to stay out of the way of any potential traffic going by.

Okay, this would be even more simple: Park alongside the dock, very close to shore or whatever structure is along the shore. Tie one end of the boat to the dock, and with a rope attached to the other end, walk to shore and then a few feet away from the the place where the dock meets shore, and pull that rope tight and tie it off. At this point, the kayak is tethered at an angle within that right-angle bend where dock meets shore. It's taking up the same amount of space as if tied the normal way, but now it can't bump into anything. This opens up all sorts of options for mooring multiple boats on one pair of lines too.