By Tom Burden
Don’t let too much sun cut your boating day short! Bimini tops are partial cockpit covers that shield boaters from the sun. They provide lots of refreshing shade while affording you visibility over your windshield, instead of just through it. Bimini tops are freestanding, providing more air circulation, and can be mounted in several locations on the boat. Also, bimini tops are not just for powerboat owners. Cruising sailors often use them to provide shelter in the cockpit while at anchor.
Competition ski boat: Taylor Made Products has tops for many models of Correct Craft, MasterCraft and Malibu boats, among others. We also carry Ultima™ Tower Bimini Tops that mount within the confines of several widths of wakeboard towers to provide shade for the driver and spotter. These are 48" long and about 16" tall (from the mounting point) and are available in three different widths to fit most towers.
Fishing boat with center console: Convenient Bimi-Tee Tops can be installed in seconds. These fabric tops are mounted directly to the center console without straps or hardware, so you have comfortable walk-around clearance. Each top features a heavy-duty built-in zipper for easy removal.
Choose from three sizes and seven colors of Ultima™ fabric or economical white vinyl. The support frames (sold separately) are constructed from heavy-duty 7/8" stainless steel and are designed to fit a variety of console sizes. All towers stand 76" high. They’re available in two sizes: Large (4 ½'W x 6'L) and Extended (5'W x 7'L). Note: Boat speed should not exceed 25mph.
Pontoon boat: Get a Square Tube Bimini Top for your pontoon boat. The square tube bimini frame is a knock-down design, but made from 1" square aluminum tubing, to match the aluminum playpen railing used on most OEM Pontoon Boats. All tops are 8' (96") long and 56" tall, and include all-metal hardware. Choose from 96" or 103" width.
Other boats: Choose the dimensions of a top for your boat, decide on a fabric type and fabric color and determine if the top you choose includes a storage boot, and if not, if you want to order one separately.
The width is the measurement from the mounting point of the top (where top attaches) on one side of the boat, to the same location on the opposite side of the boat. This is not the same as “beam width” or boat width.
Widths of the Bimini BoaTops are specified in increments of approximately 6"; since the aluminum frame has a degree of flexibility, it can safely be mounted over widths that vary slightly. Choose the width that most closely matches to your mounting point measurement.
The combination of height and length determine how much shade your Bimini BoaTop will provide. Think about how you use your boat and what you want to shade; for example, if you want to shade yourself and your children in the back, you probably want the longest bimini available in a medium height. If you are out fishing by yourself most of the time, you probably want the smaller, taller bimini, to provide shade but allow you to walk and maneuver under the top. If you’re a skier or wakeboarder, you need only shade the driver and spotter, so a short, lower bimini is in order. The mounting location on the boat will sometimes play a role in the decision on top size also. Length options are 4', 6' or 8'.
Caution: Be careful not to order a top that is too long for your boat. Rule of thumb: If your boat is less than 20' in length, a 6' top works best unless you have a very large cockpit area.
The listed height of a bimini top is the maximum standing height under the frame from the mounting location, so if the top is to be mounted on the gunwale, the frame height will be the distance from the boat floor to the top of the gunwale PLUS the specified height of the bimini.
Ultima™ Fabric comes in Gray, Pacific Blue, Teal, Black, Cranberry, Navy and Hunter Green
Hot Shot™ Fabric is available in Gray, Teal, Pacific Blue, Cranberry, Navy and Hunter Green. Some bimini models only include a more limited choice of colors.
Marine Vinyl is available in white only
Keep your Bimini BoaTop neatly stored when you are not on the boat. Zippered Storage Boots feature one separating plastic zipper for easy on/easy off, and are made of two choices of fabric. Traditional Marine Vinyl is waterproof and UV resistant and lasts for years. Hot Shot acrylic-coated polyester fabric makes the boot strong yet lightweight and easy to store. Our site includes all the widths from 60"-66" to 97"-103". Complete bimini kits include the boot, while some of the biminis require boots to be purchased separately. Check product descriptions or ask an Associate for details.
You can order a bimini top with full frame construction, instead of a three-piece knock down frame style. The aluminum frames are available in three lengths (4', 6' and 8'), three heights (36", 42" and 54") and widths ranging from 60" to 103." Frames are 7/8" bright dip anodized aluminum tubing with non-corrosive high-density black nylon fittings. Also available in stainless steel. They’re shipped fully assembled, and are shipped by truck freight only.