We all know how harsh that Australian sun can get and sometimes it becomes so strong that it can hamper our fun when we’re out sailing. To combat this, most sailers install either a bimini top or boat canopy to protect from almost all weather conditions that are thrown at you.
If your boat already has a cover that’s getting old and worn, it’s probably time to replace it. If this is your first time buying a cover, this guide was created to help you land on the right one. In Australia, bimini tops are a popular choice, so we’re also going to delve a little deeper into narrowing down your options.
Should you get a bimini top or boat canopy?
Do you know the difference between a bimini top and a boat canopy? Make sure you know the main distinctions so you can start your search on the right foot.
A bimini top is a partial cover for your cockpit that offers shade without restricting visibility. They afford maximum air circulation and can be taken down and re-mounted in other parts of the boat if needed. You could use them on a powerboat, ski boat, pontoon boat or sailing boat.
Another popular type of cover is the boat canopy, which is constructed from metal frames and a canopy. Most commonly found on yachts, this covers the boat’s entrance and cockpit and generally has vinyl windows.
How to get the correct sized bimini cover
To determine the width of your bimini cover, measure the distance between the two mounting points, which go from the top of the boat (where you’ll attach the top of the cover) to the corresponding location on the other side of the boat. The width of the bimini cover should be as close as possible to this, but a small amount of variation is okay, as they tend to be flexible.
When it comes to length, think about how much cover and shade you want. Consider which parts of the boat you want to cover - will your family be spending time out the back, or will it just be you out there on a fishing trip?
Which type of bimini top should you buy?
If a bimini top is high on your list of essential equipment (and it should be!) here’s what to look out for when deciding on the one for your vessel.
OEM bimini tops
OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) covers are designed using digital templates to cut canvas, and are tailored specifically to each model, making them a precise fit.
Off-the-shelf bimini tops
Off-the-shelf models usually come in a restricted set of sizes. However, as long as you measure height and width accurately, you could still find one that’s the ideal fit for your boat.
Custom bimini tops
If you like options, custom is your best bet. You’ll be able to choose which coated or laminated vinyl-alloy fabric you prefer and get the sizing just right. Custom options may cost more, but are usually more durable than some alternatives.
To find out more about which bimini top or boat cover would be beneficial for your vessel, give Boating Central a call on (03) 52294632 and our expert team would be happy to answer any questions you might have.