If you’ve ever spent a full day out on your boat with the sun shining down on you, you may be thinking it’s time to add some shade to your boat. We understand wanting to stay cool while still enjoying your time out on the water, which is why we offer bimini tops! A bimini is a fabric canopy that mounts onto either your boat's gunwale or wakeboard tower to provide shade. They come in a variety of materials and can be installed several different ways to accommodate your needs. Learn more about how to choose the right bimini top for your boat below.
Biminis come in a variety of fabrics, so how do you choose which one is the best for you? First, you should consider what kind of weather you will face. If you live in a humid climate, you will probably want a fabric type that is breathable and has high mildew resistance. For climates that have significant snow or rainfall, consider a fabric type that repels water easily. If you live in a dry or hot climate, you will want a fabric with a high UV protection rating. Some of the most common fabrics bimini tops are made of include acrylic, polyester, cotton/poly blends, and vinyl. At Monster Tower, all of our bimini tops are made with Sunbrella®, a top-of-the-line marine canvas that ranks high in UV resistance, breathability, mildew resistance, and durability. Sunbrella fabrics used in shade products are even recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation as part of an effective sun protection regimen.
One of the most important things you should consider when looking for a bimini top is where you want it to be mounted. Most of the time, traditional biminis are mounted on the widest part of your boat. Once you’ve decided where you want it to be mounted, measure a straight line between these two points on either side of your boat.
When considering how long your bimini top should be, know that the mounting point is in the center of the bimini. For height, you want the bimini to be in a position that is tall enough to clear the driver and spotter when they are sitting in the boat. To determine the correct height for this position, measure straight up from the mounting point.
For tower biminis, measurements are similar, but there are a few key differences. First, during installation, your bimini will be attached directly to your wakeboard tower rather than drilled into your boat. Your bimini’s height will be determined by the height of the tower itself and the length varies by model.
Ease of Installation
Most people want to be able to easily install the bimini top and get out on their boat as soon as possible. For most standard bimini tops, drilling into your boat’s fiberglass is required since the canopy is mounted on the top or outside of the boat. On a pontoon boat, the bimini is mounted onto the pontoon side rails, which also requires drilling. With these types of biminis, you could use aluminum bows with nylon fittings or stainless steel bows and fittings, depending on what your needs are.
Wakeboard tower biminis require a small amount of drilling as well, but into your tower instead of your boat. To install your Monster Tower bimini top, you’ll assemble the frame, determine your mounting points, attach your mounts, and complete the installation. You can expect your tower bimini installation to take roughly two hours.
In order to keep your tower bimini in excellent condition, you need to store it properly when you’re not on the water. Many bimini tops come with mounting brackets that allow it to lay flat when you’re not using it. With tower biminis, you can fold it to where the legs come together and secure them in place with velcro straps. Then, you’ll put the fabric into the storage boot and secure it with a strap to keep it in place until the next time you’re ready to go out.
As a rule of thumb, your bimini top should be stored when trailering your boat or when going over 45 mph on the water.
Cleaning and Maintenance
To keep your bimini in tip-top shape, you will want to clean and maintain it as needed. You can actually remove the fabric portion for cleaning or patching a hole.
For general cleaning, all you need is ¼ cup of Dawn dish soap and 1 gallon of water. You’ll want to fully wet the fabric and scrub it with a soft brush or cloth, rinse it completely, and allow it to fully dry.
If your fabric is mildewed, you can clean it with a homemade mixture of 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of Borax, and 2 cups of warm water. Mix all of these together and apply to the mildew spots, and let it sit for no longer than 10 minutes. Scrub with a soft brush, completely rinse the fabric, and let it fully dry.
If you are using your bimini top in saltwater, you will want to properly clean it after every outing to prevent corrosion. Use a watering hose to completely remove the salt from the frame and fabric. Create the general cleaning solution and thoroughly wash all metal elements of your bimini top, rinse off dirt and debris, and finish with a car chrome polish followed by a fiberglass wax.
You should never put the fabric in the washer and dryer since this could damage the fabric. You should also not use harsh cleaners or detergents. If you have tough spots that aren’t coming out, you can use a fabric and vinyl cleaner or deep clean with a diluted bleach solution
For even more maintenance tips, check out our tower bimini maintenance guide.
Keeping yourself and your passengers cool while you’re out on the water is as simple as installing a bimini top on your boat! Now you know more about these accessories and how to choose the best one for you. Are you ready to add a tower bimini to your boat? Look at our Monster Tower bimini tops and accessories now!