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

A brief introduction to Impact Fenders and boating.

Welcome to Impact Fenders 

Brian and Courtney are the co-founders of Impact CBS. We are driven to protect your boat and lifestyle!!!

Hello fellow boaters! My name is Brian Slaughter and I’m the CEO of Impact CBS.

We specialize in boat protection. Your boat is not only one of your biggest investments, it’s your fun, your passion, your hobby and your recreation. We get it. We get it because we’re lifelong water skiers and  boaters, too. And we founded Impact Fenders to improve and revolutionize the way we protect our boats. 

Our flagship products are premium boat fenders and dock bumpers, both of which are unlike anything you’ve seen on the market before. They are custom made in our shop and will deliver quality, performance, protection, and aesthetic appeal for years. 

The other half of the “we” behind Impact Fenders is my partner in business and in life, Courtney Gates. We grew up together in Lake Arrowhead, California, as competitive water skiers. We each followed different paths after the Arrowhead days, only to reconnect 25 years later and once again bond over our shared love of being on the water. We remain avid recreational skiers–making turns whenever possible in our Southwest Colorado neck of the woods.

We were coming into dock after a particularly fantastic morning, when we fumbled to get the imbalanced, awkward fenders in place. There was no catastrophe; we just dealt with the same old, awkward fenders that we dealt with every day. These things hadn’t evolved in 50 years. Our mission began by asking, “Why not?” 

After two and a half years of R&D working with inflatable plastics professionals, designers and tons of market research from fellow boaters, we introduced our first line of Impact Fenders and Dock Bumpers in 2018.

Impact Fenders are the lasting solution for performance sport boats, sailboats, pontoon boats, and yachts. As our brand has grown in each sector, experiencing the full-spectrum of the marine industry has been a gift to Courtney and I in our second chapter of life. We have met amazing people, and we’ve been inspired by the shared values and plain ol’ good times all boaters seem to embody. We’re meeting people like ourselves who are still out on the water year after year, and those whose eyes are lighting up to new experiences and adventures in all realms of boating and the sports you do behind your boat. 

My intention with this blog is to deliver relevant information around topics that you care about. Impact Fenders is all about protecting your investment, so your days on the water are fun and stress-free. Here on this blog, we’ll be diving into all of those aspects. From safeguarding your boat to buying the best boat for your favorite on-water sport, we’ll bring how-to’s, what ifs, and top tens to your inbox. (Sign up for our newsletter.)

If there are topics you’d like to know more about or would like to share here on this blog, please feel free to contact me.

Phew…first blog done!!! Thank you for reading. I welcome your comments and I look forward to an ongoing conversation.

Until next time, see you on the water!


[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"] Performance Sport Boat World