Rope and Fenders

What are the "greenest" fender options?

The button fenders I orginally bought were made of hemp rope, so as to avoid the various plastic options. I was told that I would need to soak them in creosote though, so they wouldn't rot. Of course I took ages to not get around to this, and then I began wondering - isn't creosote a bit environmentally dodgy in itself? And THEN someone told me creosote was actually banned these days. So I've just left them as is.

But it got me wondering (especially when my partner offered to buy me side fenders for my birthday, to replace my inelegant old tyres on rope) what is the best fender option from a low-impact environmentally friendly point of view? I'd like to get the hand woven kind if I can, like my button ones are, to help the craft keep going.

============= I live on my narrowboat with my cat, Bella.

Green Fenders

Trafalgar Marine rope fenders use 100% recycled rubber crumb in the construction of the core. The rubber side fenders we have used to be made from recycled material in this country but now like everything else it's been shipped abroad.

The chain, washers and rope probably aren't that green though. Most of our customers prefer black polypropylene rope to natural alternatives because of the lifespan.

Natural rope must be more environmentally friendly but which is best to grow and use. I know the supply of Manila has been ropey for the last few years due to weather and Chinese envelope manufacturers buying grade 1 stock.

preserving rope n fenders

Most of the garden wood preseratives are environmentally okay, in that they aren't toxic.  I haven't checked on the manufacturing process though. However, they do make a brilliant job of preventing your fender from rotting away, and have the advantage of being available in a variety of friendly, primary colours.


I'm not aware of anyone doing it, but coppiced willow should make a decent basketwork type fender; sounds quite cool, I wonder if one could just rope together a bundle of (say) 35 cm. lengths. Making one a fascist (sorry). Cider,etc. bottles, but they are a bit short for me and it wouldn't help with the neighbours.

Wicker Fenders

My brother was in the Navy in the 70's and says that his Frigate used to use wicker fenders regularly. These were about 18" x 4' approx and were very efficient in absorbing energy in coming alongside. They would crush and then spring back to shape, no problem. No doubt a reduced version would be effective on narrow boats.

Wicker Fenders For Sale

I have the actual wicker fenders that the MOD used for sale. I work for Cardiff Institue for the Blind. They are as said a maximum of 18" in diameter by 4' they are £49.95 (exc. P&P). If you are interested please contact michelle [at] cibi [dot] co [dot] uk.