Boat Shade

Find Comfort On The Lake


My page about boat covers is all about taking care of your boat on dry land, how to protect it from the elements. This page is about boat shade on the water.

Bimini Top
A Bimini top is a type of open-front canvas top for the cockpit of a boat that is usually supported by a metal framework. Bimini is not a manufacturer but rather a term used to describe a type of boat shade. The name "Bimini top" came from Bimini Island in the Bahamas. In this tropical location, a shade to protect from the sun is essential for any boat, and so the Bimini top was created. Thus, the term "Bimini top" refers to any boat top of similar design, regardless of its manufacturer. These tops can be made by many different companies.

Bimini tops are typically not designed to withstand high speeds. Still, they significantly reduce exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays, greatly improving comfort for passengers. Most tops are easily collapsible when not in use, or if the weather is desirable for an open boating experience.

These boat tops can be customized based on the boat's specific dimensions, ensuring a perfect fit regardless of the boat size. This type of boat shade is an excellent addition to a boat that intends to take long leisurely rides, allowing passengers to enjoy the water while still being protected from direct sunlight.

There are many places where you can buy this type of boat shade, both online and in store. Here are a few options:

1. Amazon: Given its large inventory, you can find a wide range of Bimini boat covers on Amazon. It offers different colors, sizes, and materials suitable for a variety of boats. Plus, customer reviews can help guide your choice.

Amazon always has a great selection of boat shades following this search.

Bimini top  (#ad)

2. eBay: Similar to Amazon, eBay provides a diverse selection from various manufacturers. Given the bidding nature of the site, you might also have the chance to snag a great deal.

3. Overton's: Overton's has a selection of Bimini tops for boats of different types and sizes. They also sell a range of boat accessories and other related items.

4. West Marine: West Marine is a reputable boating supply company that offers multiple choices for Bimini boat covers. They also provide expert advice and guides on selecting the best cover for your boat.

5. Boat Covers Direct: As the name suggests, they specialize in boat covers, including a wide selection of Bimini tops. They offer customization options as well.

Always remember to check the product specifications, customer reviews, and the retailer's return policy before making a purchase.

These boat covers are commonly made from three types of materials:

1. Marine Polyester: This type of fabric is durable, water-resistant, breathable and provides good protection from the sun's harmful UV rays.

2. Acrylic: Sunbrella is a popular brand of marine acrylic fabric used for Bimini tops. It is known for its superior fade resistance, UV protection, and water resistance.

3. Vinyl: Vinyl Bimini tops are typically coated with a layer of vinyl to make them waterproof and resistant to UV rays. They are durable and easy to clean.


Pontoon Bimini Top
The choice of material depends on the marine environment, the level of desired maintenance, budget, and personal preference. All three materials are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, but their durability, and resistance to fading and water may vary. Always research and pick the best option for your specific needs.

When you buy a boat top it usually comes with all the necessary mounting hardware like frames, straps, and brackets required to install it on your boat. If your boat has never had a Bimini top, you may need to drill holes to mount the hardware, so you may need some basic handyman skills, though most tops are designed for straightforward installation. Just be sure when ordering whether you are getting a complete kit or the fabric only. These covers are sold both ways.

As for measurements, accuracy is very important to ensure a proper fit. You'll typically need to know the width (the distance from the point on one side of the boat where the Bimini will mount to the corresponding point on the opposite side), the length (how much area you want the top to cover), and the height (how tall you want the Bimini to be when it's deployed). Each manufacturer may have more specific measuring instructions, so it's best to check. Keep in mind that an improper fit can affect the top's performance and the overall look on your boat. Always double-check your measurements for accuracy.


Boat Umbrella
Apart from a Bimini top, there are several other ways you can protect your family from the sun while on the lake, including:

1. Marine Umbrellas: These are designed to withstand the rigors of boating and provide a portable shade solution. They attach to various locations on your boat and are typically easily adjusted or moved as needed.

2. T-Tops: These are permanent structures that can be fitted onto center console boats. They are usually made from aluminum or fiberglass, providing good sun protection.

3. Dodger: A dodger, also known as a spray-hood, is a frame-supported canvas (usually with clear vinyl windows) that protects an open boat from water, weather, sun and spray.

4. Boat Canopy/Cover: Canopies are similar to Bimini tops but often cover a larger area of the boat. They may attach directly to the boat or be freestanding.

5. Sunscreen: A high-SPF water-resistant sunscreen can provide essential protection for exposed skin when in direct sunlight.

6. Protective Clothing: Wearing sun-protective clothing like long-sleeve shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses can help guard against harmful UV rays.

7. Portable Sun Shades/Tents: These can be set up on the deck or in the sand when the boat is docked or anchored, creating a temporary relief spot from the sun.

Remember, protection from the sun isn't just about comfort. UV radiation can be harmful, so adequate sun protection is important for health reasons as well.

When boating with your family it is important to have plenty of boat shade for the kids.  Use lots of sunscreen and keep them covered as much as possible.  When my daughters were very young we would keep them covered most of the day with a wet towel.  Between the sunscreen, a cute little hat, the wet towel and our Bimini top we never had to experience sunburns.


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