The Value in Challenging (Some) Boating Traditions

Tradition, in general, is fantastic. It keeps us connected to our families, to our friends, and to the things that we hold dear.

By definition, tradition is “…the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way.” The very idea of it is grounding and quite lovely, really. Almost like its own form of etiquette, tradition can provide an unwritten, common language around how things are done. 

Yet in most aspects of life, there comes a time when the customs and beliefs of preceding generations need to be questioned. Societal norms need to be challenged. Cultural expectations must be revisited and viewed not through the lens of what was appropriate fifty years ago, but rather what we are capable of today. 

And yes: There comes a time when traditional boating gear requires an overhaul, too.

It makes sense that tradition holds so much sway in boating. People have put boats on water for millenia. There’s evidence of sea crossings from as early as 53,000 to 65,000 years ago. Exploration and settlement of the South Pacific region goes as far back as 3000 to 15000 B.C. 

Still today, we set rules and guidelines for our boats. A love for being on the water is a multi-generational experience that we tend to pass down. And if you’re being honest with yourself, how many parents out there demand that certain aspects of the boating experience be done the same way, every time? 

When it comes to safety, on-water expectations, and etiquette, this makes sense. But when it comes to gear, why do we hold onto some traditions and not others? 

Whether or not we consider ourselves early adopters, most boaters do the research and make the best choice for their boat and their lifestyle–regardless of tradition or trend. Boats have evolved with new materials, new hull shapes, and new performance parameters. Electronics have evolved. Our foul weather apparel has improved. Even rope and lines have evolved. 

Boat protection has evolved, too. IMPACT is providing more durable materials, higher functioning designs, and more user-friendly options with our fenders, dock bumpers, and piling pads

Our boat fenders are made of 32 ounce PVC coated polyester and are specifically designed with a lighter weight PVC that is extremely tough, puncture-resistant and has impressive tear strength built into the layers. In addition, all our boat fenders have welded seams, making them extremely durable and long-lasting for the best boat fenders on the market today.

And you know what? We, too, sat on tradition for several years before we questioned, “Why?”

As co-founders of IMPACT, we’ve both been boaters and waterskiers for over three decades. We fumbled and cursed and rolled our eyes at traditional cylindrical fenders for well over two-thirds of our lives. Our parents used old-style fenders, as did everyone we knew. 

 

Traditional, old-style fenders before the IMPACT revolution.

Boat manufacturers tossed them in for free! Was that their worth? What other “free” items would you rely on to protect a brand new $200,000 investment? 

Those inflatable, unwieldy things had been around so long, it’s almost as if we all became immune to their design and application flaws. 

We realized we were adhering to tradition without questioning why it persisted. 

Our revolution started with the age-old line that kick-starts every major innovation, “There has to be a better way.” So we got to work. 

IMPACT products, especially our fenders, look different than old school fenders. They perform better. They are easier to use, easier to stow, and are multi-functional. The materials are more durable and the quality is off the charts. They offer more surface protection, exceptional impact protection, and they stay put to manage friction. In the highly unlikely event that they are punctured or torn, they still provide full protective capabilities. We cannot say the same for air-filled fenders. 

Our customers love the ease, the functionality, the colors, and above all, the confidence in knowing their boats are protected. Between their feedback and our rapid growth (not to mention our testing), the IMPACT concept has been proven. IMPACT products work, and they look good doing it!

For the discerning boat owner, our fenders are the best protection you can buy. Recycled high density foam reduces impact and the moldable form fitting design conforms to any surface.

We understand the traditional aesthetic of boating, and honestly, we love it! But when you look at a wooden cruiser or a sleek yacht or a center console built for pure fun, aren’t you looking at the gentle curve of gunwale and the built-for-speed shape of the hull? Aren’t you appreciating the comfort of the deck and the shape of the sails? 

In other words, have you ever looked at a 50-foot sloop and thought, “Those are some gorgeous fenders”? 

Gorgeous IMPACT Fenders protecting the sleek hull of a large sailboat.

Of course, perhaps now you will say that with IMPACT. But the point is that when we think of traditions in boating and boating aesthetics, it’s always about the boat. 

And that’s what we stand for. We are boaters on a mission to craft the highest quality and most thoughtfully-designed boat protection available. We’re inspired by traditions, but not limited by what they infer. 

In Silicon Valley, they’d call us disrupters: coming into an existing industry not just to do things differently, but to do them better. We believe that is when there’s value in challenging traditions. 

And we have no intention of stopping. As we said above, it’s all about the boat, and how we can protect it with modern solutions, smart design, and superior performance. That is our new tradition. 

 

Thanks and happy boating!

Brian and Courtney

From IMPACT to You, Durango: Dock Bumpers Donated and Installed at Lake Nighthorse and Navajo Lake

Our local community has been extremely supportive of our growing endeavor, and we wanted to give back. We’re boaters on a mission to build better boat protection, so what better way to give back than by providing premium protection to the masses? 

With huge gratitude to our Southwest community, IMPACT recently donated and installed over 135 lineal feet of dock bumpers. There are many world-class lakes to explore within a short(ish) drive of our world headquarters in Durango, Colorado. We landed on two of our personal favorites, not to mention most frequented: Lake Nighthorse and Navajo Lake.

The IMPACT team arranges custom-made dock bumpers on the municipal dock at Lake Nighthorse in Durango, Colorado

By the Numbers

At the Lake Nighthorse municipal dock, we donated and installed:

  • 13 custom-made, IMPACT dock bumpers
  • That’s over 100 lineal feet of padded, durable boat protection
  • 9 hours of install time (three people working for three hours)

At the Two Rivers Marina, operated by Colorado Parks and Wildlife at Navajo Lake, we donated and installed:

  • 9-foot IMPACT dock bumpers for each side of the gas dock
  • Four bumpers for the launch dock (in 2020)
The finishing touches are applied to donated IMPACT dock bumpers installed at the fuel dock at Two Rivers Marina at Navajo Lake which straddles the border of Colorado and New Mexico.

 

No more scuffing and scratches to boats refueling at Two Rivers Marina at Navajo Lake.

These installations were unique as both the City of Durango and the owners at Navajo wanted to minimize permanent attachments (aka screws) into the dock tops. We worked around metal and wood segments of the docks, as well as upright poles on the waterside. Where typically, IMPACT dock bumper attachments are completely hidden by a fold-over design, we instead used a wraparound technique. That accommodation means a slightly less sleek appearance, but with far fewer permanent screws into the existing dock. 

Dock bumpers installed at Lake Nighthorse
The adaptable design of our custom crafted IMPACT dock bumpers were a perfect match for the needs of the City of Durango’s municipal dock at Lake Nighthorse.

It’s a testament to the versatility of our dock bumpers for nearly any application challenge. Bonus: Boaters and marinas leave IMPACT dock bumpers out year round in many areas of the country. For our climate, the dock and marina managers can quickly and easily remove the bumpers to clean and store them for winter.  And the most important part? Even with the adapted install methods, there is absolutely ZERO sacrifice in the premium protection IMPACT dock bumpers provide for your boat, raft, friends and family. 

Co-founder and CEO Brian Slaughter installs dock bumpers
Brian Slaughter, Co-founder, CEO, Master Craftsman, Laborer, Custodian, Welder and Boater following his passion of helping boaters on Lake Nighthorse.

Launching, docking, fueling up, picking up kids, and every dock-side aspect of a day at the lake just got easier and less stressful. Thank you to our phenomenal Southwest community! We hope the bumpers help to make your days out on the water that much more fun and worry-free. 

With love and appreciation, 

Brian and Courtney