How to Install a Boat Dock Bumper in Less than 30 Minutes

Boat dock bumpers provide a critical service in protecting our boats. They can bail us out of most crash landings and take a regular beating. Inbetween seasons you may find the rubber protection has fallen off or needs replacing. That is why we want to run through the quick steps for replacing a dock bumper or piece of dock edging.

Tools needed:

1) Evaluate your dock Bumper needs.

It is best to have dock bumpers installed along all edges of the dock that the boat could come in contact with. If it is a boat slip, think about including a thicker cushion where the hull of the boat will have head on hits against the dock deck. It is important to maintain the sharp edge of the underside of the boat for aerodynamics and this delicate section of the boat deserves some extra attention.

Other considerations are bumpers for your posts and corners. There are special bumpers for these areas that will further protect your boat. The idea is to create a soft landing since nobodys docking skills are perfect.

2) Review what bumper is being attached to. ie. Wood or Metal.

Make sure you understand the compisition of your floating dock. While the deck may be a wood or wood substitute, a metal frame could be lying just below the surface.

3) Measure and Record.

You will need to measure the lengths to know how much dock bumper material to purchase. Use a measuring tape and determine the length you will need to guard with bumpers. Keep a note on your phone or notecard.

Also measure the distance from the top of the deck to the water. Some docks may sit low in the water and it is best to avoid having the bumper permanently submerged. Get an idea of the proper height bumper for your situation.

4) Cut and Predrill

After purchasing the bumper or dock edging, use the utility knife to cut to the proper length.  Be careful using the utility knife. Mark where the holes should go. In the case of dock edging, intervals of 12 inches should be fine. Predrill fastener holes.

Keep in mind the length of the bumper should cover fluctuating water levels. Guage where your boat makes contact with the dock and place the bumpers in those areas which may not always be along the top edge of the dock's deck.

If you want to install dock post bumpers, make sure that you measure width of wood post to receive post bumper and verify that the width of post will fit bumper properly.

5) Attach Dock Bumpers

We recommend stainless steel screws to attach all bumpers. Stainlees steel screws will last the elements much better than other metal screws. It is definitely worth the extra money to buy.

Installing bumpers should only take between 15-30 minutes each depending on how many screws are required.

To view dock edging and bumper products on Down at the Dock, click here.