When large ships and containers arrive or leave a port or harbour (sometimes over 300m in length), the captain often does not steer their vessel directly as they can face many hazards – shallow water, previous wreckage or rocks. Therefore, they need expert guidance from a pilot who will help steer their vessel into or away from its berth safely. Pilot boats sail to the larger ship, taking at least one local experienced sailor with them, who will jump aboard the larger vessel, whilst the pilot boat is very slowly moving alongside. Neither vessel is able to stop completely, so there is some bumping into the side of the large vessel as the transfer takes place.
The pilot boat needs to be able to make these trips in any weather conditions and as it slows down when alongside the larger vessel, there is contact between the two. To protect the pilot vessel from repeated damage – the fendering needs to be robust and tested for extreme conditions. The lightweight properties of our sprayed PU fendering have increased tear resistance as they are reinforced with PU Kevlar and are strapped rather than glued so there is no additional time required for curing, meaning the pilot boat will be out of operation for a limited time – vital in a port or harbour that is operating 24/7.
Our PU fendering is cylindrical, which means it will absorb the maximum amount of energy – this is essential as you do not want to cause any damage to either vessel.
If you have never seen a pilot boat in action, take a look at this short video: https://bit.ly/30OLEtw
If you are an operator and need to update or replace your vessel fendering, talk to our marine team.