Days spent out on the water usually means hours spent out in the sun. Your boat might offer some shade, but chances are, it is not very much. Adding a bimini top to your boat will make your days on the water much better because it will shield you from the sun and the rain. Westland’s bimini tops are great aftermarket add-ons to your boat to protect its value and you.
There are a handful of things to consider when selecting a bimini top for your vessel such as: size, budget, fabric, construction, number of bows, mounting/installation, adjustability, maintenance expectations and more. In this article, we will go over 5 things to consider when buying a bimini top.
You have already invested into purchasing a boat, now it is time to make sure your investment keeps its value while also being most convenient to you. Bimini tops can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to over a couple thousand - it really depends on the size, materials, and manufacturer of the top. At Westland, a wide variety of budget-friendly Bimini tops to choose from based on material desired, color, and accessibility.
The first step is to measure your boat to determine what bimini top size you need. You are going to want to determine where you want your top at and then measure length, width, and height needed. The bimini top should extend at least 18 inches beyond the sides of your boat and at least 12 inches beyond the front and back. Westland offers a variety of sizes to fit your specific boat. Find the perfect size for your boat below.
The number of bows needed is also important in thinking about what size you need. A bimini top's bows are the frame pieces that stretch across the boat from side to side. Bimini tops can have 2, 3, or 4 main bows. The amount of bows needed, is dependent on the size of your boat. Smaller fishing boats would use a 2 bow bimini; while a larger boat (like a pontoon or deck boat) would more than likely use a 4 bow.
Bimini tops are typically made from acrylic, polyester and other fabrics. Westland offers Sunbrella, Sharkskin Supreme, and Sharkskin Plus (with specific variations). The Sunbrella uses 100% solution dyed acrylic fabric (9 1/4 oz) that is extremely breathable, water repellent and mildew resistant. It is also available in a variety of colors that are fade proof. Sharkskin Supreme is made with 100% solution dyed polyester (7 1/2 oz) that is also available in long lasting colors. Sharkskin Plus is made with 100% Acrylic coated polyester (6 1/2 oz) that is durable and lightweight. Both Sharkskin options are also water and mildew resistant. These all come with a different warranty, but are all made in the USA. Although Westland uses the best materials out there, it is crucial to make sure you are properly maintaining your investment otherwise it will rust, corrode, and ruin.
Mounting and Installation
Bimini tops can be mounted in a variety of ways, including on the boat's hardtop, on the boat's windshield, or on the boat's transom. The best way to mount a bimini top will depend on the type of boat you have. Drilling may or may not be required - if you have a tower bimini, it will simply clasp onto the boat tower itself.
With a bimini top using standard installation methods, it is recommended not to exceed a speed of 45 MPH. You will be fastening the top directly to your boat. For added security, add an extra washer and nut. It is important to note that it is still recommended to be careful going above 45 MPH with your bimini top up.
Construction and Adjustability
The construction of your desired bimini top is important depending on how you want to install, and adjust once it is in place. Bimini tops are made from a variety of materials, including aluminum, stainless steel, and fiberglass. Aluminum is the most common material because it's lightweight and durable. Stainless steel is more expensive than aluminum but it's also more corrosion-resistant. Fiberglass is the most expensive material but it's also the strongest. This also ties back to determining which materials you want the top itself to be made out of.
Some bimini tops are adjustable, which allows you to change the height and angle of the top. Adjustable bimini tops are a good option if you want to be able to manipulate the amount of shade and protection you have.
Adding a bimini top to your boating vessel is a great choice to not only protect your boat but also yourself and any other occupants while out on the water. Giving extra shade protection, days on the water can be extended without worrying about the sun’s harmful UV rays. Westland is a great choice because of the variety of options for sizes, materials, colors, and cost.