Every docking situation is different, and fenders make docking safer but they can't protect your boat in all conditions. However, there are a few things you can do to help get the most protection. Tie fenders to something solid like a stanchion base or deck cleat along the rail and don't tie to lifelines which are not designed to handle the pressure of rough or tidal conditions. Always hang fenders close enough to the surface of the water that they can't be pushed up by the movement of the boat against the dock, and make sure to tie your fenders in as low as possible this prevents them from swinging in a wide arc and winding up on top of the dock, rather than between your hull and the dock where they belong.
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When rafting, the best fendering technique is to have the fenders in place on the boat already moored or at anchor. Group three standard fenders rather close to maximum beam, then position two round A Series or LD Series buoys fore and aft to provide greater protection from boats tossing into each other.
Use at least three fenders when docking - one at maximum beam, one each at fore and aft.