Our fenders are disgusting. Fenders are the plastic bumpers you see hanging on the side of boats to protect the boat from scratches and scraps. Ours are filthy and leave horrible black smudge marks on the boat. What? Clean them, you say? Ha! A task that has proven to be easier said than done. We have tried just about every chemical known to mankind. Acetone worked best but the plastic was a little gummy to the touch afterward. This is probably not good. And besides, it took about a gallon of acetone and 3 hours to clean about one forth of a fender. Weighing the cost of the acetone, Band-Aids for raw fingers, and medical treatment for some chemically induced toxic disease, I figured new fenders might be a better option.
We have used our time in St Augustine to have our mail catch up to us and buy parts. We have grown to love eBay and Amazon Prime. We heard Wal-Mart is going to start a free shipping service like Amazon Prime for $75 per year. We are loving this idea. Not having a car makes getting to the store a little bit of a challenge. In St. Augustine, there is a cruiser’s shuttle that leaves the marina each morning and will run boaters to Publix (grocery), Home Depot (hardware),Wal-Mart (everything else) and West Marine (overpriced crappy merchandise). But, nothing is better than free shipping and having the product delivered to the marina. And with Amazon Prime, they guarantee arrival within 2 days.
I spent hours on the internet looking for new fenders. For plastic balloons filled with air, they are stupid expensive. Some of the branded products, such as Taylor-Made, ran as high as $200 each (for a size to fit our boat). We need eight. Do the quick math and you know that transaction never happened. I am stunned people (fellow boaters) are willing to pay $200 for a piece of plastic filled with air. It’s no wonder West Marine can do a fender buy one get one free sale every now and then. This basically tells me, I would be paying twice as much as I should when not on sale. This made me start to think. Perhaps I should start a small business selling good quality fenders at an everyday fare price. Then eBay directed me to someone doing just this. We could get Heavy Duty Dan Fenders (very high quality – made in Denmark) for about ½ the price of Taylor-Made. After a couple of emails to the seller our new fenders were on the way. The fenders ship flat and we inflated them, with minimal effort, using the included pump.
(Full disclosure: We do not gain anything when we recommend a product. We are very satisfied with the quality of Dan Fenders and the customer service we received from Boat Fender Guy. )
This project has been on our list of things to do for about two years. At the 2013 St. Petersburg boat show we purchased FenderGrips. These are clever little devices allowing us to raise and lower the fenders with the push of a button or pull of the rope. The FenderGrips were stored in our “ongoing project bin”. About a year ago, I purchased the rope we would need for the new fenders and FenderGrips. This was also stored in the bin. And, now a year later, we have fenders. It only took us two years to earn a checkmark for this project. What can I say? We’ve been pretty busy. We sold a business, a house, two cars, put all of our stuff in storage, moved onto a boat and went sailing. And, we then fixed things that broke along the way. It nice that the big projects like those are so long gone, we can worry about dirty fenders now.
Still taking in the sights: