We’ve done a man overboard drill with a fender that accidentally went overboard in the Charleston Harbor and lost one in a Gulf Stream crossing. Fun with fenders. For all the pounding they take protecting our boat hull from those pilings, piers, and other boats we should treat them well. Sew fender covers for them!
I’ve seen a variety of fender covers for sale from about $15 to $100 (engraved with your boat name!). To save money, I’ve made fender covers from fleece purchased at the local fabric store for under $10 per yard (JoAnn Fabric had it on sale for $4/yard). It takes about a yard to make a fender cover (less if it’s 60″ width fabric). And it is really a beginner project that any Seamless Sailor can whip out in about an hour.
The fleece holds up for about 4 years of use. The color on household fleece will fade pretty quickly in the sun. But overall for a quick and inexpensive project, I am fine with it.
How to Make Fender Covers
– 1 yard of fleece or outdoor fabric per 1-2 fenders depending on size
– 4-5 feet of leech line or other thin line per fender
– UV resistant thread (V92)
1. Measure the length of the fender and the circumference of the fender. Round up and add 1/2” to allow for some “give” and a 1/2” seam around. Add 4” to length so you can turn under a 1” hem twice creating a casing. I cut 29 1/2 x 33” for this Taylor Made 26” fender. I have the casing end about where the edge starts to taper towards the hole for the line at the end.
2. Sew the long side seam. Try a fitting to make sure it fits around the fender allowing a bit of give.
3. Turn end under twice 1” to make the hem casing. Sew in a long length of leech line as you make the casing to avoid having to push the line through afterwards. Leave the hem open about 1” around the side seam to allow for the line to exit the casing. Repeat for the other end.
That’s it! Slip it on and tie off the leech line. Trim and finish the ends of the line with a hot knife or lighter. You could use a barrel lock on the line if you want. Below the photo shows the Captain tying the leech line though the hole at the end when he ties it off.
Sailrite sells a fabric called boat blanket and a kit for making a more tailored fender cover. There is a video how-to also.
This You Tube video shows using terry or cotton sweat pants. Very inexpensive option!
What other methods have you used to create fender covers? Send a tip to add to the list.