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

IMPACT Featured in Durango Magazine!

We love living in Durango, Colorado! Who would’ve thought the hottest gear in boat protection would come from our landlocked corner of the world? Well…we did. For one thing, nothing is more fun than product testing on one of the many awesome lakes nearby. But we also owe a HUGE debt of gratitude to our local accelerator program for believing in us. 

The Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE) has been nothing short of instrumental in our launch and in our success. They’ve provided critical insight and ongoing mentorship as we grow. 

The 2021 summer/fall issue of Durango Magazine puts the well-deserved spotlight on the tremendous job SCAPE is doing at supporting entrepreneurs and driving job creation in the Southwest. We’re honored to be featured in the article, alongside other growing companies in our area.

Big, fat thanks to SCAPE and to Durango Magazine! Check out the article here, or better yet: subscribe for your annual Durango fix. 


It’s Saltwater Season and IMPACT Fenders are Ocean Ready!

It’s Saltwater Season and IMPACT Fenders are Ocean Ready!

As freshwater boating season winds down (at least for those of us who are landlocked or in the northern latitudes), these Coloradans are ready to indulge our growing sailing obsession with some Caribbean Westerlies. That’s right! It’s saltwater season, baby! For many captains of sailboats, center consoles, and cabin cruisers, you could easily argue that saltwater season is year-round. But we know you wouldn’t rub it in, right?

Especially in the warmer climates, we don’t think anyone is going to argue with the ideal weather and wind patterns that winter brings to Southern California, the Gulf of Mexico, Hawaii, Florida, and the Caribbean.

When we launched IMPACT, we knew we wanted to build the best boat protection for all types of vessels. We were ski boaters with a curiosity about sailing and an unabashed support for any time spent on the water, in any type of boat. As we’ve traveled the country going to boat shows and meeting this wild, fun, sophisticated, and passionate extended family of boaters, our commitment to the needs of each boating category has only deepened. 

As saltwater season amps up, the number one reason to choose IMPACT fenders and bumpers are because they provide the best protection for your boat. Period. (For more details, read this.) Here are a few more ways IMPACT fenders are upleveling boat protection for saltwater sailboats, center consoles, and cabin cruisers.

    1. PVC-Coated Polyester is tough as nails. PVC is chemically inert and super resistant to salt corrosion and sun fading. It’s similar to the material most dinghies are made with. With a minimum of care, it’s not going to become brittle in our lifetimes. Honestly, that’s not too different from the marine grade vinyl used for most of the old school cylindrical fenders. Where PVC really shines in its high strength to weight ratio. This means our fenders are sleeker and lighter weight for equal or superior protection.  
    2. No inflation or compressor or pump necessary with IMPACT fenders. Many of the leading brands of cylindrical fenders need to be inflated. That means: extra steps, extra gear and extra vigilance around their effectiveness if those old-style fenders are over- or under-inflated. IMPACT fenders are ready to deploy straight out of the box, with no additional steps, pumps, or compressors.
    3. Rust-free grommets. Our grommets are stainless steel so they’re strong, durable, and won’t rust, even in the briny air and saltwater of the ocean.
    4. Multi-use in minimal space. Because IMPACT fenders are flat, they’re easy to stow, singularly or together. Sailors, especially, know this is a significant benefit when space is tight. Even better, IMPACT fenders can serve double, triple, and quadruple duty due to their shape. Extra seat cushions? Check. Knee pad for working on the engine or in a tight space? Check. Floatie toy for water play?* Check. Backrest at the helm? Check.
    5. IMPACT fenders provide a more sophisticated aesthetic. Why destroy the sleek lines of your Beneteau or clash with custom paint on your Boston Whaler with ugly fenders? IMPACT fenders flex to the shape of your hull for a low profile, maximum protection look. Plus, with 10 colors to choose from, you choose if your statement is subtle, bold, or somewhere in between.
    6. No gel coat scratching or color transfer. We’re in the boat protection business, which means we’re concerned with every threat to your boat’s pristine nature. Test after test and year after year, IMPACT fenders have shown zero gel coat scratching and zero color transfer. (For a deeper dive into gel coat questions, click here.) Boat in confidence that your choice of sunny yellow fenders won’t ever rub off on your all-black hull. 

For premium boat protection in freshwater AND saltwater, IMPACT is the top choice for effectiveness, performance, innovation, and downright good looks. 

Thanks, and we hope to see you at the ocean soon!

Brian & Courtney

Arizona Boat Show: Sportsmen, Boat and RV Expo This Weekend

impact fenders Arizona boat show Scottsdale, AZ
Photo credit: Dana Gerrard

We’re baaack…for another boat show in Arizona.

Grand Canyon state, we just can’t get enough of you. This weekend, the Impact Crew is in Scottsdale for the Sportsmen, Boat & RV Expo. Presented by WestWorld of Scottsdale, the show starts tomorrow, March 13 and runs through Sunday, March 15.

As the name implies, this EPIC boat (and more) show covers all things boat, alongside outdoor and fishing gear, RVs, trucks, campers and #vanlife inspiration. It’s the type of event that might persuade you to quit your job, sell your house and start that dream retirement…right now. Even if your response isn’t quite so…passionate…it’s the type of show that will certainly inspire some fun weekends.

Be sure to come by the Impact Fenders booth (#4158C). We love to meet more folks in our extended boating community, and we’ll have daily show specials that will be worth your time.

After taking care of all your boat protection needs at our booth, check out the full line-up of presentations. Get closer to landing the big one at one of the fishing seminars or plan your next adventure with RV and camping tips.

However you plan it out, the Arizona Sportsmen, Boat & RV Expo looks to be a fabulous time.

See you soon!

– Brian & Courtney


Arizona Sportsmen, Boat & RV Expo

March 13-15, 2020

Adult tickets (buy online): $12.00

16601 N Pima Rd
Scottsdale, AZ


Photo credit: Dana Gerrard

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!


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