Being a boating enthusiastic who is out there on the waters for hours almost every other day with the sun over your head at all times, you must have realized the importance of a Bimini Top by now.
Getting bimini tops seems no big deal until you get the wrong size for your boat, which fails to protect you from the scorching heat of the sun adequately.
This is why knowing and understanding the importance of getting the correct size of a Bimini top that is neither too short and small nor too high is crucial.
Now it may look like no uphill task, yet I am afraid it is not that simple either – especially if you’re a novice.
Therefore, based on my experience, I will share the information that will make the whole process less daunting for you.
So, to know all about how to get the correct size of bimini tops, follow my lead!
How to Select the Perfect Sized Bimini Top for your Boat?
Below is my personalized step-by-step guide on finding the right size bimini top that you can follow to get your hands on the top that fits your needs perfectly.
Consider how much of area do you want to be covered
Stating with the obvious, the first and foremost step to selecting the best size bimini top for your boat is to determine how much area you need covered and protected from the sun and wind.
Some boaters prefer only a small portion of their boat to be covered by a bimini top or any other shade, while others want to cover the entire thing. Infer how much space you want to be covered first before proceeding to the next step.
Take the Measurements Precisely from every angle
After you are done determining and finalizing the area that you want to be covered by the bimini top, the next step is to measure accurate dimensions of the area.
The dimensions include its length, width, and height.
I am going to talk about all three in detail here to make it easy peasy for you!
Measuring the Length
The length is measured from front to back, which is termed bow to stern, in the boater’s terminology. On average, this length is almost about 6ft but may range from 5 to 9ft.
Just to give you an idea, 8 to 9ft bimini tops are useful for larger pontoon boats, and the minimum length of 5ft typically goes well for the ski boats. Moreover, the longer a bimini top, the more bows are required to support it.
Measuring the Width
The second dimension is the width of the area that needs to be covered. It is pretty simple to estimate. Just measure the distance from the side rail of one side to that of the other side. You can also use mounting points on both sides as reference points.
Measuring the Height
Like the other two dimensions, the height can be easily measured too. The measurement is taken from the mounting points (not directly from the floor of your boat) to whatever height you desire. You can keep as much headroom space as you want.
Most of the time, boaters prefer to stand when they drive their boats, so it is better to get a bimini top that is way above your height to make room for yourself and avoid bumping your head into it every time you stand up.
Even if you spend most of the time sitting, you would like some head space but keep in mind that it still serves the major purpose which is providing shade.
Identify the Mounting Points
This is an important step since mounting points help align the center of the bimini top with the area where the front and back meet at the borderline. Identify the mounting points accurately.
Material of the Top
Now that you are done measuring all the dimensions, you need to decide on a material that you would want to get for the top. Direct sunlight can sometimes cause the material to shrink and degrade, which is why UV-resistant, durable materials are best for the top.
Remember, it is protecting you, so it needs protection too!
Some top-of-the-line materials are denier enforced polyester, acrylic, vinyl, etc. Whatever material you go for, just make sure that it is soft enough to store away but durable enough to hold its ground against different weather conditions. The additional property of being waterproof is cherry on top!
The same is the case for the frame material. A frame is a skeleton that holds the components of the top together, so it needs to be sturdy and stable.
Good frame materials include aluminum and stainless steel that are rust-resistant and strong enough to support the entire structure.
Now that I am done explaining how you can get the accurate size, I am going to list down some of my top picks when it comes to bimini tops.
My Top Picks – 3 Best Bimini Tops
I picked out some of my favorite bimini tops and have enlisted their key features along with their merits and demerits so that your time and especially hard-earned money are saved!
Let’s dig into the options one by one!
XGEAR is one of the promising brands out there that deal in boat accessories. I like its bimini top particularly because of the exceptional features it offers.
- The fabric quality and durability top the chart. This bimini top is made up of 600D fabric, which is solution dyed and also double-coated, which ensures its longevity.
- The bimini top comprises an aluminum frame that is resistant to rust and corrosion. You get bow legs that are double-walled, which makes them hold the top with stability.
- The fabric of the top characterizes 200-hour colorfastness, which means that the hue would not fade under the sun for a very long time.
- There is stainless steel mounting hardware which makes the process of installing the entire setup pretty easy for a layman. The top is up and about in a few minutes!
- You get all the accessories with the top, like the adjustable nylon straps in the front and supporting poles in the back. It is a complete package.
- Another perk is its portability and the ease of storing it away into the boot.
- The fact that the top does not lose color for a long time is great! It looks as new as ever for a considerable time.
- It is convenient to install and set up in the boat. Similarly, the storage is another perk I absolutely dig, provided how other top options are difficult to carry around.
- The hardware is durable and holds the entire thing upright without displacing sideways.
- The double-coated fabric and corrosion-resistant frame protect the top against weather wear and tear.
- You might need to get better screws and a sealant to seal off the gaps that form when assembling the entire thing.
- The mounting brackets might be a bit loose.
Now comes my second most favorite top – the Leadpro Bimini Top Boat Cover. It comes in a variety of colors, and when I say variety, I really mean it! With 10 different colors and 2 bow sizes, this bimini top is ideal for your boat.
- The bimini top comes with a rust-resistant aluminum frame which is quite sturdy and stable.
- 4 straps can be adjusted according to your preference, both at the front and the rear portion of the boat.
- The top is made up of 600D marine-grade polyester, which tells a lot about its resilience against wear and tears by weather and water.
- The bimini top is accompanied by a complete installation kit, mounting hardware as well as a guide with instructions on how to set up the top.
- It comes in 10 different radiant colors and two bow sizes for you to choose from according to the size of your boat.
- A variety of hues are available to choose from.
- It comes in 2 bow sizes.
- The fabric is weather and water-resistant, ensuring the longevity and durability of the fabric.
- Almost all the customers have been praising the convenient installation process, which does not require professional help.
- It is a complete package. You do not need to get the accessories separately
- The straps might be a bit difficult to remove and attach again.
Last but not least, SereneLife Bimini Boat Top Cover can also make a great option to prevent sunburns and stay in cover at all times on your boat. I am going to enlist a few of its features here.
- The fabric is a 600D polyester fabric that is double-stitched to ensure strength and durability. Moreover, it is waterproof and can endure the marine environment for a long time.
- The top is UV resistant, making it the perfect product best for use in summers. It is also resistant to water, dust, and other pollutants – therefore, longevity is guaranteed!
- The bimini top comes with a storage boot which is zippered and beautifully color-coordinated with the top. In case you want to take it down and store it, this storage boot can be used for this purpose.
- The well-built aluminum frame is quick to set up. It is double-walled, which speaks for the fact that it can undoubtedly withstand the breeziest of whether!
- For added support and stability, front straps and back support poles are provided, which make the top stand its ground in all kinds of weather.
- The top comes with all the things you would need to set it up or accessorize with later. This includes crossbars, complete guide, tubes, storage boot, supporting poles, etc. This has made the installation process quite simple.
- The polyester fabric is quite durable, as promised, with good tubing all around.
- It is super quick to assemble and take down.
- A lightweight and affordable purchase.
- The dimensions might differ by little lengths to those mentioned in the product description.
- The attribute of being lightweight is a good thing when it comes to storage and portability but also a con since the top cannot be used in extremely windy situations.
Going for an adequate bimini top for a boat is always a good decision since boating is an outdoor activity, and the sun is pretty much going to be over your head for quite a few hours, especially in summers.
Bimini tops not only protect you from the harmful ultraviolet radiation but also help you get shelter in case of crazy wind and rain. But these are only effective if you succeed in getting the right size for your boat.
Dimensions might seem easy to measure but trust me when I tell you that even a slight mismatch can lead to opting for the wrong top size, which will serve its purpose as desired.
I hope this information helps you get those measurements right so that you only purchase the best-suited bimini top for your boat!