What are marine fenders?

Ⅰ. Application of Marine Fenders

Marine protective rubber products (Marine Fenders) are a kind of rubber products used to protect ships and dock facilities. They are usually installed on piers, docks, ships and other marine structures. Marine Fenders absorb and mitigate the force of a collision between a ship and a pier or other structure.

Marine structures include piers, docks, ships and other marine structures. In the marine environment, docking of ships, loading and unloading of cargo require corresponding facilities and structures. These facilities and structures are collectively referred to as marine structures.


1.Marine structures


Docks are land or water-based facilities for docking vessels and loading and unloading cargo. Engineers usually design sturdy structures and appropriate water depths. This allows docks to accommodate different sizes and types of vessels.

(2).Boat Dock

A boat dock is a facility used for the repair, maintenance and construction of boats. They are usually enclosed pools or areas. Docks have the ability to control water levels and drainage. Docks can accommodate large vessels and provide the necessary equipment and services.


A ship is a large watercraft used to transport people, goods, or other items over water. The main types are commercial cargo ships, passenger ferries, tankers, fishing vessels and various other types.

(4).Other Marine Structures

In addition to piers, docks and ships, there are various other marine structures. To name a few, there are floating docks, offshore wind turbines, offshore oil platforms, etc. These structures are subjected to different forces and challenges in the marine environment.



2.Collisions between marine structures

Collisions between these marine structures may occur in the following situations:

(1)Ship berthing:

Collisions may occur when a ship approaches a pier or dock. Due to various factors (e.g. wind, tides, maneuvering errors, etc.), it is difficult for the operator to control the ship accurately.

(2)Vessel Maneuvering:

In busy harbors and waters, collisions may occur between vessels. Especially when turning, stopping or changing speed.

(3)Adverse weather conditions:

Harbors are calm in most cases. But the weather conditions of the sea are very complex. Sometimes severe weather conditions, such as high winds and waves, can strike the harbor and the ship. High winds and waves may prompt a collision between a ship and the pier.

Such collisions can generate considerable force. Many factors, including the size of the vessel, its speed, its angle, and the area of contact with the structure, determine the magnitude of this force. Such forces are sometimes sufficient to cause serious damage and pose a threat to the safety of personnel and the environment.

For this reason, marine protective rubber products (e.g., fenders) are often used to mitigate collision forces in marine engineering and harbor construction. Such measures are essential to protect the safety of vessels and structures.


Ⅱ. The Main Use of Marine Fenders

Marine protective rubber products can reduce the damage of collision on the hull and dock facilities. They are usually mounted on piers, docks, boats and other contact locations. These locations include dock edges, bridge piers, dock walls and so on. These rubber products serve two primary purposes:

1.Absorbing and dispersing forces:

rubber products are elastic and energy-absorbing. It absorbs and disperses collision forces and reduces impact.


It acts as a cushion in case of collision. Reduces the force of direct impact. Reduce the risk of damage. Extend the life of the structure.

These rubber products can significantly minimize damage to hulls and marina facilities in the event of a collision. Choosing the right rubber and installing it correctly can greatly minimize damage. In addition, they provide a safer berthing and loading environment. Provide stable berthing and safe loading and unloading conditions for vessels. These devices protect people and the environment.



Ⅲ. Properties and Applications Of Rubber Marine Fenders

1.Properties of rubber fender

The materials used for these rubber products usually have excellent properties. This material generally has the following properties:

  • High strength
  • Abrasion resistance
  • Corrosion resistance
  • Energy absorption properties

These properties greatly extend the service life of the fender. Manufacturers or purchasers may need to take into account many advantages when manufacturing or purchasing a rubber fender. But ensuring its long-term use is one of the most important considerations. Complex marine environments can create disturbances in the device.

(1)High strength:

Rubber materials have excellent tensile strength. In addition to this it also needs to be tear resistant. This is mainly so that the fender can withstand high forces and stresses.

(2)Abrasion resistance:

Rubber materials have good resistance to abrasion. Rubber fenders are generally subjected to prolonged friction. Good abrasion resistance maintains the integrity of the fender and ensures that the fender fulfills its function. And can ensure that the fender to realize its function.

(3)Corrosion resistance:

Rubber material is an organic material. There are many factors that can corrode rubber in the marine environment. For example, seawater, UV radiation and chemicals are all corrosive. In order to maximize the service life of fender, it is necessary to use durable materials. It is therefore important to use materials that can withstand the harsh environment.


Good elasticity characterizes rubber materials. We choose rubber to make the fender primarily because of this characteristic. In the process, ships may crush or hit the fender, subjecting it to a lot of pressure. The super elasticity of the rubber fender enables it to cope with such pressure. The rubber fender quickly recovers after the force is applied, undergoing complete elastic deformation. During this process, the fender absorbs collision energy, preventing damage from occurring.

(5)Energy absorption:

This property is similar to elasticity. However, elasticity focuses on the magnitude of the deformation of the fender. Energy absorption measures the amount of kinetic energy absorbed by the fender. When a ship squeezes a fender, it deforms elastically. The fender transforms the kinetic energy of the ship into potential energy. The fender’s energy absorption determines how much kinetic energy it absorbs. This reduces the impact on the ship’s hull and dock facilities.

2.Types of rubber materials

Rubber material has many sources. And in the above content we introduced many properties of rubber materials. Based on these, we can classify rubber materials into several categories:

(1)Natural rubber:

This rubber comes from rubber trees. Workers regularly cut the bark of rubber trees. The tree then secretes an emulsion. Workers collect this emulsion. Rubber factories will perform a series of processes on the emulsion. The final product is natural rubber material.


(2)Synthetic Rubber:

The name of this material reflects its origin. It is a man-made rubber material. Chemically all types of rubber materials are manufactured.

      • Nitrile rubber
      • Styrene Butadiene Rubber
      • Neoprene rubber


This is also a synthetic material. This material has extremely high strength. And its chemical properties determine its resistance to abrasion.


3.How to measure the properties of a rubber material

In the process of producing fender, the factory needs to choose the right rubber material. When choosing a material, elasticity and energy absorption are the most critical properties. Some values can accurately reflect these two properties.

(1)Modulus of elasticity:

a measure of a material’s ability to return to its original state after being subjected to a force. A lower modulus of elasticity indicates better elasticity.

(2)Tensile strength:

A material is subjected to external forces during stretching. The tensile strength determines how much force the rubber can withstand.

(3)Elongation at break:

Rubber materials cannot withstand tensile forces indefinitely. A large enough tensile force will cause the rubber material to break. When a break occurs, the rubber material extends for a certain distance. This distance is the elongation at break. This index reflects the magnitude of the deformation of the rubber material.

Rubber products have a special material structure. This structure gives rubber materials excellent material properties. Rubber materials can absorb and disperse collision energy. Boats and other structures often collide with marine fender. The rubber material is squeezed and deformed elastically. During the deformation process the fender absorbs and stores the energy of the collision. Subsequently, the rubber material is quickly restored to its original state. The restoration process releases the energy stored in the rubber. These forces would have impacted the dock directly. But the rubber material protects the pier from this force. In this way, rubber fender creates a safer environment for berthing and handling operations.

Ⅳ. The Types Of Marine Fenders

There are many types of marine protective rubber products. Two of the most common types are introduced here:

  • Pneumatic Fender
  • Marine Rubber Fender

They are widely used in marine engineering, harbor construction and shipping industry. Different shapes of marine protective rubber products have different characteristics and application scenarios:

1.Pneumatic Fender:

Usually, people use Pneumatic Fender for ship-to-ship contact protection. They have good energy absorption properties and elasticity. Round rubber fenders are suitable for various docks and ship types. It can provide reliable protection. Most importantly, Pneumatic Fender can effectively minimize the damage to hulls and marina facilities.

2.Marine Rubber Fender:

People commonly use Marine Rubber Fenders to protect structures such as bridge piers, quay walls, etc. They have a large contact area. Marine Rubber Fenders provide a wider range of protection as they have a larger contact area.

These marine fenders come in different shapes. Then there may be some differences between them in terms of performance and price. The exact difference depends on factors such as the quality of the rubber material, manufacturing process, size and design. Generally, larger sizes, more complex shapes and higher quality rubber products may be more expensive. Purchases need to be chosen based on specific needs and budget.