Before beginning this summer’s adventure

we a lot about various accounts of boaters

travelling through the multitude of locks on the waterways.

High concrete walls,

rushing water currents

and the slime that builds up over the years

can pose risks to unprepared boaters.

Last year we locked through 54 times without incident

while traversing the Rideau Canal

and Saint Lawrence Seaway

using good balance and a couple of docking poles to keep us pushed off the lock walls,

but we thought it wise to add a couple of improvements for this year’s trip.


Fender Boards

The idea of fender boards is to protect the hull from rubbing the walls of the lock
or when docking at pilings.
It also serves to keep the slime from the fenders,
which in turn will hopefully keep the boat cleaner.
Most boaters we have seen use lengths of 2″x6″.
We liked the idea of PVC instead of wood
as we will also be able to use the pipe to support the Genoa
and main furler during winter storage,
and when not in use during the season can be used to house our fishing rods.
It might even come in handy for safer ‘rafting up’ with boat friends.
What we purchased…
6′ of 2″ PVC pipe
a length of inexpensive nylon line
Two 2″ caps to ‘soften’ the edges of the pipe (and to keep spiders and other critters out)
and gloves – our choice was garden gloves with rubbery palms.
The slimy concrete walls can be really nasty and super slippery as I found out last year
when I lost my balance and put my hand out without thinking to grab the wall
and almost went overboard.
Easy and inexpensive to make…
9/16″ hole drilled through the pipe, 6″ in from each end.
Two 10′ lengths of line run through each hole and secured with a figure 8 stopper knot.
2″ caps secured on each end with silicone (as I mentioned, I’m not a big fan of resident spiders)
There is also a good article in Practical Sailor explaining details of ‘why’s’ and ‘how to’s’.
To date, on our New York Loop
we have yet to use the fender board
after locking through several times
but those gloves have proven a great addition.
Pictures will be available as always until I can fix my Blogger limit issue
on our R.E.D. sails facebook page:
Or on flickr:
You can find me by searching either
Kathy Haslam
or happykay27