Install Dock Bumpers in 5 Steps

a boat tied to the dock
  • 2-6 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-250
What You'll Need
Tape measure
Dock bumpers
Cordless drill

Boat dock bumpers are what keeps your boat from colliding with the dock and causing damage to the boat, the dock, or to both. Mostly made out of vinyl, rubber, or plastic, dock bumpers also keep boats from serious damage during storms as they bang up against the dock. Installing dock bumpers is a very easy task and can be done within a few hours.

Step 1- Measure Dock

Before you begin installing any dock bumpers, you must know how many you are going to need. As a general rule, each boat you will be tying to the dock should have at least two that will keep it away from the dock. Measure your overall dock and decide on how many boats will fit there. Once you decide that, just use two for each boat.

Step 2- Measure for Right Height

After you have measured the dock and determined where the dock bumpers will be placed, you will need to measure down towards the water for the best height. If you put the bumpers up too high, the boat will slide under them and they are useless. The best way to do this is to pull your boat alongside and mark the wooden dock where the railing is. This is where the middle of bumper should be.

Step 3- Attach Mounting Bracket

Take the mounting bracket that the boat dock bumper will be attached to and line it up on your wood dock. Place a small level on it to make sure it is level and mark the holes with a marker. Use your cordless drill with the right size drill bit to drill the hole.

Place the bracket back on to the dock and slide the bolt through the hole. Use your socket wrench and tighten up the bolt from the underside of the dock. You may have to reach under, or get into the water if it is too much of a reach. Repeat as necessary for the other holes if any.

Step 4- Install Bumper

Depending on the type of dock bumper you have, this step can be done in several different ways. One way is to slide the bumper over the top of the mounting bracket and secure it with a cap. Another method is to drive in mounting screws that affix to the bracket and hold the bumper in place. Some dock bumpers will also clip onto the bracket. This is done by simply pushing it until the bumper snaps into place.

Step 5- Seal Screws and Drill Holes

Since the wood and hardware are going to be in wet conditions, you need to seal them so the wood, and the hardware, do not rot. Use liberal amounts of silicone on the underside of the dock and cover the entire surface of the hardware and the hole. Dab a thin line on the front of the dock if any the mounting hardware is showing.