Do you use fenders on your jet skis?
You might be thinking “Why would I do that?” or even “What exactly is a jet ski fender?”
I have to admit, I rarely see them in use. After a bit of research, I’ve discovered that they can pack a lot of protection into a handy little package of nylon and foam.
Jet ski fenders are small (sometimes inflatable) devices that fit over the hull of the ski, at the rub rail, to protect it from hitting the dock or another boat.
They’re very similar to the bumpers you see hanging over the side of sportfishing boats and trawlers (but much smaller, of course). Obviously, dock bumpers can serve the same purpose, but they’re not always going to be there. Most jet ski fenders are designed solely for docking. In other words, they won’t stay on while you’re at speed.
Benefits of Jet Ski Fenders
If you never tie up at a dock or moor off of a boat, you might not ever need jet ski fenders. Personally, I enjoy jetting to my local lakeside restaurant, docking the ski and enjoying the waterfront view. This, however, means I run the chance of getting a scratch or two from a closely tied vessel or from a boat wake. Let’s take a look at a few of the benefits of jet ski fenders.
- Prevents scratches and damage due to banging against the dock (during docking the ski or just sitting there)
- Keeps jet ski from scratching a nearby boat that it’s moored off
- Protection while on the trailer
Types of Jet Ski Fenders
Available in your search are a couple of different types of jet ski fenders. While slightly different in looks, they work about the same.
The main thing with jet ski fenders is that you won’t have a cleat to tie the line to (I could be mistaken, but I’ve never seen a cleat on a jet ski), like on a boat. This is where you get creative and stuff that line under the seat cover.
The Hook version of a jet ski fender looks sort of like, well… a hook. The bottom hooks under the rub rail of the jet ski as a suction cup and a line keep it securely in place. Flexible areas with hinges conform to fit the shape of the ski.
Hook jet ski fenders usually have an inflation valve for air pressure adjustment. The fact that it’s inflatable is an excellent benefit. You can always re-inflate it. When non-inflatable ones go flat, the only thing you can do is purchase a new one.
The Hull Hugger has a molded hook in the back that hooks under the rub rail with a hinge in the center for protection and flexibility. The top connects to a cleat or the ski eye with a strap.
You can also configure it so the storage compartment closes on the strap to keep it in place.
The Classic Bumper is the traditional long cylinder shape that’s typically seen on boats of any size. Rather than a suction cup application, they use marine rope for attachment purposes.
Since they can be found in a variety of sizes, they make acceptable jet ski fenders as well.
Sea-Doo has their very own version of a jet ski fender for the Sea-Doo Spark. The Spark is actually designed with holes under the rub rail to snap the fenders into.
If you have a Spark, great. If not, this one’s not for you.
Jet Ski Fenders: Cushion Your PWC From Scratches, Dings and Dents
Airhead SB-4 Boat Fender
The Airhead SB-4 is a long and flexible fender with a nylon covering and foam-like interior.
It’s 18” by 3” and attaches via two large suction cups above and below the rub rail. You can also secure a line under the seat cover.
- Type: Classic bumper
Hull Hugr PWC Fender
Made specifically for jet skis, the Hull Hugr PWC Fender has two foam squares connected with a hinged area in the center. This hinge allows some flexibility and protects the ski from the dock or other boats.
There’s a molded acetyl hook that secures under the rub rail and the top gets connected to a ski eye with a strap and vinyl hook.
Like the bumper listed above, you can also place the strap under the seat cover for a secure hold.
- Type: Hull hugger
Sea-Doo Spark Snap-in Fenders
Designed exclusively for the Sea-Doo Spark, these Snap-In Fenders are easy to install and remove.
Pre-molded holes in the front and back provide a secure mount on the ski (the Spark is designed with holes already there to snap these into).
They come as a pair and are only compatible with the Spark.
- Type: Customized snap-in for sea-doo spark
Taylor Made 1069 Personal Watercraft Fender
The Taylor Made Products 1069 Fender fits most jet skis that have an open area under the rub rail to “hook” onto.
Flexible areas conform to the shape of the ski and rub rail and the suction cup and securing line are included.
There’s an inflation valve to get just the right amount of “cushioning.”
It comes in a couple of colors if you’re into aquatic color-coordination.
- Type: Hook
Yamaha PWC Fender
While made by Yamaha, this traditional bumper will work with any jet ski brand.
It comes with four feet of rope to secure it to your ski. Unless you’re deeply invested in a specific PWC brand, this is a great bumper for a jet ski.
- Type: Traditional Bumper
Other Accessories for Jet Skis
While we’re on the subject of jet ski scratch and damage protection, let’s check out a few other items that can make jet ski life a little bit easier.
Sgt Knots Boat Fender Lines
When using a traditional bumper, you’ll need rope to attach it.
Sgt Knots twisted three-strand fender line is designed specifically for small fenders. It’s made of high-grade nylon that’s strong, stretchy and durable—perfect for a marine setting.
All you have to do is thread one end through the eyelet on the fender, and then secure the other end under the seat cover or hood.
Airhead Bungee Dock Line
Whether you’re tying down a fishing kayak, stowing rods and reels or securing a cooler to the deck, bungee lines are an essential in every boater’s bag.
The Airhead Bungee Dock Line takes that universal handiness and combines it with a dock line. At four feet long, it absorbs shock to the ski, the dock and pylons as it keeps the ski at a safe distance. The bungee cord is inside of the nylon rope.
Two foam floats add scratch protection and sliding adjustments at both ends make docking quick and easy. It can hold boats and jet skis up to 4,000 pounds.
Airhead Impeller Protector
When towing with your jet ski (yes, you can tow with a jet ski), you’ll want to keep the rope away from the impeller. Nothing ruins a day more than sucking a tow line up into your ski.
The Airhead Impeller Protector is made of nylon with a closed-cell, 24-inch foam tube. Just run the rope through the foam protector.
This keeps the ski rope away from the impeller so the rope doesn’t get sucked up into it. It also protects riders from a rope’s kickback.
Airhead PWC Sand Anchor
One advantage of jet skis is their ability to be used in much more shallow water than a boat (because of that whole no exterior propeller thing). I love to ride up to small islands and explore. All I have to do is pull the ski up onto the sand. Even very shallow water is no problem, but they do still need an anchor to keep from floating away.
The Airhead PWC Sand Anchor is a really cool alternative to a metal boat anchor. It’s a durable tri-laminate bag with drawstrings and six feet of line. Just scoop up sand or rocks and toss it over. The drawstring top keeps it all inside. When you’re ready to go, empty it out and fold it up. It’s excellent for anchoring in shallow water, and the bright yellow is easy to see.
Truth be told, I currently don’t have fenders on my jet ski. However, after researching them and discovering how easy and practical they are to use, I think I’ll be surfing on over to Amazon to purchase a few.
Hopefully this has provided you with some advice on the best type of jet ski fender for your PWC.
Sandy Allen is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia. Her specialties range from hotels, islands and yacht charters to theme parks and family fun. She enjoys boating, snorkeling and jet-skiing along the waterways of Virginia, Florida and North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Follow her adventures at Somewhere in the Sand.