A good bimini top for your boat is a crucial accessory that will significantly improve your boating experience, bringing you years of enjoyment and protection from the sun. Choosing the right one gives you a great deal of refreshing shade, while also affording you above-windshield visibility for safe navigating. Bimini tops easily affix to your boat towers, come in a variety of colors and styles, and provide you and your passengers a good amount of air circulation that feels great when you’re out on the water. How, though, with so many different options available, can you select the right top for your specific boat? Here are some tips.
Before you get to the more fun stuff – like choosing styles and colors – it’s necessary to deal with the nitty-gritty details of measurements. If you are un-familiar with your boat’s dimensions this FAQ page is a good place to start. You’ll need to know the ideal width, length, and height. For width, measure the distance from the mounting point on one side of the boat, to the exact same place on the opposite side. (This is not to be confused with the boat width or beam width.) Next is length. Do you want the bimini to cover the entire boat? If you’re wakeboarding or skiing, you may only want to shade the spotter and the driver, so you’ll need a shorter top. If you’re accommodating a bigger boat, you may be tempted to get a shade that covers the entire area, but keep in mind that some people will likely want to sit in the sun. Lastly is height. Will you be mounting it to a tower, the windshield, a rail, the gunnel, etc.? Do you need it to work with accessories such as lights and/or speakers? These are all factors to take into consideration when determining height.
Do you want it to be collapsible? Consider how much space it will take up, both when it is open and when it is unused. How easy is it to install – will you need special tools and equipment? Some tops require drilling and others do not. How fast will your boat be going and does the specific top you’re looking at accommodate that speed?
Think about what fabric will work best. For this decision it’s important to consider how long you’re planning to own the boat. Different companies will all claim to have the best fabric, but each one has its pros and cons. You may not need a more expensive, durable fabric if you’re only planning on having the boat for a year or two. Consider the colors and style lines of the boat and choose a top that is complementary. Also find out whether or not the top is sewn with thread that’s UV protected and color coordinated with the fabric. These may seem like trivial details, but you’ll potentially be living with this bimini for years and you’ll appreciate it much more if it’s aesthetically pleasing.
Buy a top from a retailer that you trust. Wake Essentials is a trusted source and has a solid selection listed online. Don’t get swept up into doing business with someone you’re not able to ask questions or get good customer service from. This is a major purchase and should be treated as such. Cover these bases and you’ll be enjoying the perks of your bimini top on your boat for years to come.