What Are The Different Types of Dock Bumpers for Boats and How to Choose The Right One For You


A dock bumper can be the difference between damage to your boat and dock or just a slight scare. Dock bumpers are essentially cushions that protect your dock and waterfront equipment from collision damage.

This isn’t a free invitation to ram into your dock whenever you feel like it. Rather, dock bumpers offer added protection for those times that a docking approach doesn’t go all that smoothly. It happens to all of us! That’s why it’s important to pick the right type of dock bumpers for you and your property. Here’s how to choose the right one for you!

What are the Different Types of Dock Bumpers?

Three of the most common designs for dock bumpers might all look fairly similar. In reality, they play vital roles in providing protection to your boat and dock hardware. Let’s start with one that you’ll see most often in stores and on docks: the straight bumper.

Straight Bumper

A straight bumper is exactly what it sounds like: a straight bumper designed to line a portion of your dock in which your boat could come into contact. These often attach right to the side of your dock with minimal setup or installation.

The Tommy Docks straight bumper is designed with cushioned PVC to protect your waterfront equipment and dock from rough contact with your boat. They’re simple, straightforward, but great protection against those approaches that might be a bit too fast or for days where the waters are giving you a little too much to handle.

Pipe Bumper

Pipe bumpers are a little different. Yes, they’re still designed to cushion your boat and dock from contact that might cause damage, but these are installed a bit differently. These bumpers go over your dock pipes in a split-back design that easily goes over your pipe brackets and protects your dock.

Because these go over the pipes on your dock, this option does add the ability to get a little creative with the design of your dock. You want a dock you’re happy to look at, and more importantly show off, which is why pipe bumpers are a popular way to not only protect against collisions but stylize your dock.

Piling Bumper

Lastly, a piling bumper isn’t only designed to sit horizontally on your dock. These can actually be attached to your waterfront equipment such as jet skis and longboats. This protects your equipment from things like barnacles and other saltwater marine parasites.

While these might look a little longer than you think you might need, they provide great protection thanks to their design. A heavy-duty piling bumper can give you peace of mind that your dock, boat, and watercraft are all safe.

How to Pick the Right Bumper for Your Dock

You’ll want to ask yourself three questions when considering your dock bumper options:

  1. Do I want to attach the bumper horizontally or vertically?
  2. What look or design to I want my bumper to offer my dock?
  3. Do I want the bumper installed on a piece of equipment or the dock itself?

With your dock bumper options, these three questions should point you in the right direction. If you’re still on the fence or torn between a couple of options, we’re always here to help! A team member at Tommy Docks is always here to assist. Just reach out today!


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