Boating is one of the most fulfilling and enjoyable pastimes and something you’ll want to make the most of. If you’re looking to have great fun out on the water next summer, you need to make sure you prepare for this. That means getting the boat ready and making sure you have accessorized properly and that you have everything you need. This can have a major bearing on the boating experience you might have, and things like bimini tops are an essential piece of boating kit.
You want to have a boat that is practical and can go a long way toward improving your life as a boater, and bimini tops are one of the best ways of being able to do that. You need to make sure you have all the elements you need for your boat to have the best possible adventure. Bimini tops are a staple in the modern boaters must-have list, and we’re going to look at why, as well as how you can go about selecting the right bimini top to suit your boat and your tastes.
What Is a Bimini Top?
A bimini top is an open-front canvas top that acts as a partial cockpit cover of sorts that is designed to go on top of boats. Usually supported by a metal frame, these cockpits are an essential addition to your boat, and it’s important to make sure you choose the right sort. Bimini tops are free-standing, and they provide better air circulation for those on board. Getting the right bimini top for your boat can make a huge difference when it comes to improving your boat and making it more practical and appealing.
What Is It used for?
Bimini tops have a number of functions, but the main one is to keep the sun off passengers on the boat. When you hit the water, and the open ocean, one of the most appealing aspects of boating is that you get to experience the thrill of the natural world. You are face to face with the elements, and this can be pretty exhilarating. However, you also need to make sure that you are careful and sensible.
It’s great to be able to go out on the water and feel the sun on your back. However, if you are out for a long time, then overexposure to the sun can cause problems. You might burn, become dehydrated, or suffer from sunstroke. So, you need to have protection, and one of the best ways of being able to do this is to install a bimini top on your boat to combat this issue.
Why Do You Need One?
So, why do you need to have a bimini top for your boat? Well, it is important to look at how you can improve your boating experience, and a bimini top is a great place to start. You will be able to shield yourself and your passengers from the sun, as well as providing better air circulation and a view over the top of the windshield. But, in addition to this, there is also the added benefit of the fact that a bimini top can go a long way toward improving the aesthetic appeal of your boat, both in the harbor and out on the water.
What Type of Boat Do You Have?
One of the first things you need to think about when you are looking to choose the ideal bimini top is the kind of boat you have. Knowing what type of boat you want to equip can make all the difference when it comes to selecting exactly the right bimini top to suit your needs. Here are a couple of options to consider:
- Competition ski boats like MasterCraft, Malibu, and Correct Craft fit different types of bimini tops, and Carver Industries offers some great variety to choose from. Among the most popular bimini tops offered here is the Super Sport bimini tops, which come in at 35" tall, able to be cut down to 30" tall, sizes range from 61"-96" wide and are the perfect addition to any ski boat.
- Pontoon boats can be fitted with Square Tube bimini tops, made from rigid 1” square aluminum tubing. Carver's Pontoon tops are 96” long by 48" or 54” tall, with widths of 96” or 102”.
- There are plenty of other boats on the market that you can fit bimini tops for such as the Runabout, Cuddy Cabin, Fishing boats, and others. This is all about getting the dimensions right, deciding on color and fabric type, as well as considering whether to get a storage boot, but we’ll talk more about this later.
If you are serious about finding the right bimini top for your boat, it is going to be a case of measuring up. Determining the width and length of the boat and the bimini top is so important so that you can fit the right bimini top for your boat. So let’s look closer at how to make these measurements, and why they matter so much.
- Width. The width is the measurement from the mounting point on either side of the boat. You need to make sure the width is as exact as possible; the last thing you want is to have a 8-foot wide bimini when you have a boat with a width of 7 feet. Figure out where you would like to fit your bimini top on either side of the boat, and this should give you the place to measure for your width.
Now, there can be a few difficulties when you are trying to measure the right width, and this often comes down to the type of boat you have. For instance, if you have a sports boat, you might have to compete with a side windshield, and this can make it tricky to find the right mounting point and to measure accurately.
- Length. This is a little easier to determine as you are basically just deciding how much shade and cover you want for your boat. This is something that you’ll need to factor in by thinking about the size of your boat moving forward. So make sure you decide to measure the areas you would like to cover and think about how much of your deck you would like to leave exposed; this depends a lot on what you use your boat for.
For those seeking a longer length, there is always the option to look at 8-foot tops. But as a general rule, if your boat is less than 20-foot in length, you should go for the 6-foot bimini top, unless your cockpit area is extra large.
- Height. When you are working out the height for your bimini top, the best thing to do is to stand inside your boat and measure from the mounting points to where you want the top of the bimini to be. This will help you to determine the height of the bimini relative to the mounting points, and this is important. You need to decide whether you want shade when standing, or while seated, and this should inform your measurements.
Choosing the Type and Style
It is important to consider the different types and styles of bimini top you would like to have for your boat. This means you need to consider the different elements that make up the ideal bimini top and think about what matters the most to you. You have to look at what you can do to select the perfect style and color of the fabric, and these are some of the key options to consider.
Choosing the color for your bimini top is largely a question of taste, and this is something that is completely subjective. Think about the aesthetics of the bimini top, as well as what you think will look great on your boat. It is literally down to personal taste, however, you might like to think about going for colors that are mode fade-resistant, and making sure the color fits with the rest of your boat in the process.
Type of Fabric
You also need to make a decision about the type of fabric you might like to use when selecting your bimini top. So, it is important to consider things like OEM bimini tops, off-the-shelf bimini tops, and custom bimini tops that can be specially made. There are a lot of different options to look at here, and the best thing to do would be to assess some brands that are available to help you make the best possible choice.
This is a bimini top available in an array of great colors, including more unusual ones, such as Orange, Sunflower, Aruba, and Concord. This is a fabric that is defined by a resistance to UV and mildew, superior quality, as well as being versatile and great for all climates. A perfect choice a fabric for your bimini top.
This fabric is available in a few different colors and patterns to suit your personal tastes, such as Gray, Beige, White, and Camouflage. Marine-grade polyester is one of the highest-quality bimini tops, in terms of the fabric itself, and its coating makes it water repellent and an excellent and durable choice for your boat.
For those seeking a more traditional form of bimini top, this traditional choice (only available in white) is incredibly strong and durable, and the ideal option for anyone looking for an budget solution.
Select the Right Brand
You need to think about the right brand of choice when looking to choose your bimini top. There are a lot of things that you need to keep in mind when factoring this in, and there are plenty of different brands to consider. One of the most popular marine accessories, a bimini is a perfect addition to any boat, and here are some of the best options to consider when trying to choose what is the best fit for you.
Sunbrella is one of the most popular and well-known brands when it comes to buying bimini tops, and the solution-dyed acrylic holds color better than almost any other type of bimini. It is easy to clean and is resistant to shrinking. It's not completely waterproof, but some 303 Fabric Guard can take care of that very easily.
This 7 oz. marine-grade polyester by Carver mainly offers superior resistance to harmful UV rays. All of it's colors are solution dyed meaning the color fades much slower than other fabrics. Sun-DURA is water repellent and breathable, an excellent mix for a high-quality brand.
The 8 oz. Performance Poly-Guard is another heavy hitter in the marine-grade polyester department. It's not offered in as many colors as some other brands and fabrics but what it lacks in color it makes up with being an all-around excellent material. With features like water repellency, extremely high tear resistance, and mold and mildew resistance make this a tough one to pass over when considering all your choices out there. Being based in Utah, we especially like this brand and material for our local customers.
Do You Want Storage?
One of the main things you need to consider when you choose to fit a bimini top is the storage situation. You can get some boot storage to keep your bimini top in when it isn’t being used, and these are made from fabric as well. While the bimini is erect, you might consider using this storage space for something else, to be as efficient as possible. This is a great accessory and addition to complement your bimini top, and we highly recommend that all boaters consider this as an option.
Choosing the right bimini top is one of the necessary steps you need to take to improve your boat. This is something that provides much-needed protection from the sun, as well as improving and enhancing the visual aesthetic of the boat. When you are trying to choose the right bimini, there are a lot of things you are going to need to think about. For example, it is important to make sure you measure up to get the right size that’s going to fit your boat properly. You also need to think about the type of fabric you want and consider what works best for your boating needs. If you can keep these ideas in mind, you should be well-placed to be able to get exactly the right bimini top.