So, you’ve purchased a new boat and you can’t wait to get it on the water and enjoy it. Have you considered that spending all of that time in full sunlight can lead to sunburns and poor skin health? Avoid doing the same first mistake that many boat owners do and get your boat a bimini top.
A bimini top is a simple, versatile and affordable way of achieving adequate shade whilst out on the water. Aside from protecting from the sun’s dangerous UV rays, boat biminis also make boating more comfortable and enjoyable, increasing the time that you can spend on the water.
What is a Bimini Top?
A bimini top is an open canvas structure that fits over the cockpit of the boat. It’s supported by metal frames generally made from aluminium or stainless steel. Aluminium frames are a common choice for smaller vessels due to their lightweight. Although stainless steel frames are a bit heavier, they maintain well in a marine environment and is a popular choice on larger vessels.
What are the Benefits of Installing a Bimini Top?
Protection From Harmful UV Rays
Spending time in the sun, enjoying some fresh air is indeed healthy. However, prolonged sun exposure can lead to trouble. The CDC warns that as little as 15 minutes of exposure to direct sun can lead to damage to a person’s skin. So, unless you’re planning to just sit on your boat in the harbour for a few minutes, you’ll want some shade.
Shade is the main reason to install a bimini top on your boat. Modern bimini top models are designed to be raised or lowered as needed, at only a moment’s notice. This allows you to adjust the bimini shade as you desire, controlling the amount of shade for you and your guests.
Protection From Rain
Even if you check the weather before taking your boat out in the water, you can eventually get caught in the rain. If you have a bimini top, you’ll be more protected from the raindrops until the storm passes over or you make it back to harbour. For improved protection, you can add curtains and a windshield to your bimini top.
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Comfort and protection aside, a bimini top can also enhance your boat’s style, making it more attractive and even increasing its value. Available in a range of colours, sizes or styles, biminis also offer you the opportunity to customize your boat.
Like with your vehicle, taking proper care of your boat is also important. Solar UV rays can also damage your boat’s interior and equipment over time. A bimini top adds extra protection to your boat’s interior, keeping your investment in excellent condition.
How to Choose a Bimini Top?
One of the main features to keep in mind when buying a bimini top is material. Vinyl and polyester composite are considered the best material option for biminis. These materials are highly durable and are also easy to maintain. The second feature is colour. Keep in mind that bright covers aren’t as durable as dark ones. That is because dark materials contain a higher amount of dyes. However, dark tops are known to absorb more heat and are also less visible than bright tops. Also, make sure the bimini you choose includes hardware and boot to store it.
How to Measure Boat for Bimini Top?
Bimini tops are available in a range of sizes. To choose the right size, you’ll need to determine the area you want to cover (the entire boat or just a small section and then measure accordingly. Once you decide the area you want to cover, you’ll need to measure its length. In most situations, the minimum is 1.50m. At this point, you can also identify the mounting point. The next step will be to figure out the amount of headroom you want. With that figured out, you can measure the distance between that headroom height and the mounting points. With your measures in hand, you can then compare them to the charts that bimini manufacturers normally offer to help customers find a size that suits their boats and requirements.
How to Maintain a Bimini Top?
When not in use, you should not leave the bimini top in the open. Otherwise, the elements will destroy it. So make sure the bimini you choose is easy to store. Before you store your bimini, you’ll have to clean it.
Like many, you might be asking yourself: Can you wash a bimini top in a washing machine? Well, you can not. The best yet simple way to keep the fabric clean is by regularly brushing loose debris off. For that, you can use a soft brush. When a light cleaning is necessary, you can use a water and soap solution. Allow the solution to soak into the fabric for a few minutes before rinsing with a hose. Let it dry in the sun.
For removing stains, you can prepare a solution of one cup bleach, 1/4 cup mild soap and 3.5 litres of water. Allow the fabric to soak for about 15 minutes and then use a soft brush to scrub the fabric, focusing on the stains. Rinse with a hose.