Bimini Top Guide
Selecting the Right Bimini Top
CoverQuest.com has already applied Bimini's to many year, make, and models of boats eliminating the need for measuring! Shop recommended tops guaranteed to fit your specific year, make, and model.
For the boats we have yet to recommend a specific size for, or for the customer who wishes to choose their own dimensions - tops are offered in a range of heights, lengths, and widths to offer the best fit for your boat. Shop by your custom dimensions!
Measuring for a Bimini Top
To determine the size of your new Bimini top, you first should consider what portion of the boat you would like to cover. You should take your measurements from your main mounting point, which will be the center of the Bimini top. This means if you choose a 6’ long top, you will have 3’ of coverage in front of and behind that mounting point. This is the point which you will use going forward to measure your width and height from.
To obtain your width, just measure across your boat from side to side at the points where you wish to mount the top to your boat, which will be the center point of your Bimini top, or your main mounting point. Our tops can be mounted to virtually any surface including the windshield, railing, top of gunnel, or the outside or inside of the boat.
Measure straight up from your mounting point to determine the height you would like your frame to be. Keep in mind that staying with the lowest height possible will ensure you do not lose shade. Once you have the length, width and height, you are now ready to select your new top by dimensions!
When you lay your top down, either forward or backward, the top actually becomes longer. This is the result of the top's bows nestling together. This measurement can be important when you have equipment and other items to consider. Please refer to the chart below for each top's “laying length”. Laying length is taken from the tops mounting point/deck hinge to the top of the frame when laying flat.
Round Tube Bimini Top Frames
CoverQuest's standard round tube Bimini Top frame features a double-walled main bow and 7/8" heavy walled aluminum round tubing with marine grade black nylon fittings. Standard fittings include heavy duty nickel plated brass snap hooks and eye straps as well as stainless steel adjuster buckles and fasteners. Stainless Steel Hardware Upgrades as well as Full Stainless Steel Frame and Hardware Upgrades are available. All of our Carver Bimini's include a free matching storage boot.
Other Round Tube Bimini Top Styles
The Super Sport Bimini Top is designed to allow low-profile boats to keep their sleek appearance. It comes 35" high but can be easily cut down to as low as 30" for an even lower profile. The canvas is designed without traditional valances to give a more streamlined look.
The Tower Mounting Bimini Top is designed to eliminate the need to drill into your tower. Universal tower clamps that accommodate a wide range of tower tube diameters from 1-7/8" up to 2-3/8" makes installation a breeze. Each tower Bimini comes standard with one set of tower clamps, high-grade black nylon fittings, and front and rear hold down straps. Hold down straps may be replaced with optional braces.
Round Tube Bimini Top Upgrades
Stainless Steel fittings are an attractive and durable alternative to black nylon fittings. Stainless Steel fittings are available for 3 and 4 bow round tube tops.
- Upgrade a 3-Bow frame for $99. Includes 4 jaw slides, 6 outside eye ends and 2 universal deck hinges.
- Upgrade a 4-Bow frame for $99. Includes 6 jaw slides, 8 outside eye ends and 2 universal deck hinges.
Full Stainless Steel Bimini's are the best value for saltwater applications. Full Stainless Frames include Stainless Steel Fittings and are available for all 3 and 4 bow round tube tops. Stainless steel frames are an attractive and durable alternative to our standard aluminum frame.
Don't want to assemble your new top? Let us!
All CoverQuest Bimini's come standard with all necessary mounting hardware and are ready to assemble. However, if you do not want to assemble your top, we can ship it to you pre-assembled and ready to mount for $150. Please note, pre-assembled tops must ship by truck. (The shipping address must have adequate room for the truck to deliver and turn around without issue). If you would like your Bimini shipped fully assembled and ready to mount, call 1-888-726-9300, live chat, or e-mail CustomerService@CoverQuest.com.
If ordering a fully assembled bimini top please review this important information regarding delivery.
Square Tube Frames
Square Tube Bimini Tops are traditionally applied to pontoons. They match the square tube railing typically found on a pontoon. These tops are 48" high with the option of 8', 9' or 10' length. Standard Bimini Tops include high-grade nylon fittings, heavy-duty nickel plated brass snap hooks and eye straps, and stainless steel adjuster buckles and fasteners. All square tube tops come standard with a free rear brace kit and matching storage boot. The 10' top comes with a free front and rear brace kit.
Other Square Tube Bimini Top Styles & Upgrades
Buggy-Style Bimini's are a square tube Bimini Top complete with rear side curtains. Curtains are equipped with snaps that attach easily to rails using the screw studs provided. Standard fittings include high-grade nylon fittings, heavy duty nickel plated brass snap hooks and eye straps, stainless steel adjuster buckles and fasteners. All square tube tops come standard with a free rear brace and matching storage boot.
The Free Standing Bimini is designed to eliminate the need for front braces or straps. Ideal for the fisherman needing more room to maneuver around the boat, or for models which gates location would interfere with a standard Bimini Top. The Free Standing Top is designed with a center brace between the front and back bows that holds the top in place and keeps it standing strong. This top comes with a free matching storage boot and attached back braces with quick release pins.
Our pontoon Bimini Tops come with an optional light cut-out, so you can mount a running light to the center of the rear bow. This canvas has zippered sleeves making removal for cleaning or storage a breeze. All square tube tops come standard with a FREE rear brace and matching storage boot.
Control your Bimini top with the push of a button! PWR-ARM II by Schwintek is the only fully automatic powered Bimini top on the market. This top can be added to any pontoon or deck boat, mounting between 92” and 102” wide, and it provides 10’ of coverage from front to back.
The Dual Pontoon Bimini is designed to provide a full 16-feet of coverage, and it is made to fit pontoon boats 22' and larger. The rear Bimini is a 4-Bow top with running light cut-out, zippered sleeves, rear brace kit and front hold down straps. The forward Bimini is a 2-Bow top with zippered sleeves and forward brace kit. The front and rear canvases zip at their connection point, providing a full 16-feet off coverage.
Bimini Top frames almost always outlast their canvases. Many times boat owners are faced with the choice of buying a complete new top or taking the risk of buying another manufacturer's canvas in hopes of a good fit. Not anymore! Carver Industries has developed a pattern for a replacement canvas that is guaranteed to fit any manufacturers frame, and it is made right here in the USA! Shop Bimini Replacement Canvases now!
9.25 oz. Sunbrella® Acrylic
This 100% Acrylic, solution-dyed fabric is our longest lasting and most popular Bimini fabric, blocking out 98% of the sun's harmful rays. 100% breathable, water repellent and mildew resistant. Available in 19 standard colors. Additional “Sunbrella® Special Order” colors available. 10 Year Warranty. Made in the USA.
- Carver Sunbrella Color Options
- Carver Sunbrella Special Order Color Options
- Westland Sunbrella Color Options
7 oz. Sun-DURA
The 7 oz. Sun-DURA is an excellent material for a Bimini and is available in a variety of colors. Because it is a solution dyed polyester, it has superior color retention. The material is made to be extremely water repellent and UV resistant. Sun-DURA is a 600 denier fabric which is tightly woven to provide high tear strength. This material is produced here in the USA. 7 Year warranty.
8 oz. Performance Poly-Guard
100% Marine Grade Polyester. Known for its high tear strength, extreme water repellency, and excellent fade resistance. 100% breathable, with UV and mildew protection. Available in 3 colors. 5 Year Warranty. Made in the USA.
7.5 oz. Sharkskin Supreme
100% Solution-Dyed Polyester. Durable and long lasting color. Breathable, water repellent and mildew resistant. Available in 3 colors. 7 Year Warranty.
6.5 oz. Sharkskin Plus
100% Acrylic Coated Polyester. Lightweight yet durable. Breathable, water repellent and mildew resistant. Available in 10 colors. 5 Year Warranty. Made in the USA.
14 oz. White Vinyl
Weatherproof vinyl with charcoal denim backing. Resistant to dirt, grease and mildew. Excellent sun blockage. Easy to handle, fold, and store. 3 Year Warranty. Made in the USA.
Assembling your Bimini Top
Step 1. Identify the hook shaped, long, medium, and short metal side bow sections. Using the long side bow side sections, and one of the center cross bow sections, assemble the side bow and center bow parts as shown, aligning the pre-drilled holes. Use the 1/2”, no. 8 screws to connect the bow parts securely. Repeat this procedure for the medium and short bows, aligning the pre-drilled holes and securing them with 1/2”, no. 8 screws. Caution: If screw heads become burred, cover heads with duct tape or file down screw heads to avoid damage to canvas.
Step 2. Spread the Bimini Top canvas out on a flat, clean area with the bottom side up. Sewn-in label indicates the bottom, or inside, and the back of the top.
Step 3. With the bows assembled, insert the medium bow assembly through the sleeve at the front of top. (This is the sleeve opposite the end with the sewn-in tag.) Note the position of the single pre-drilled holes on the bow frame. (Holes should be facing toward the middle of the canvas.) Insert the short bow assembly through the small sleeve in the center of the top and the long bow assembly through the sleeve at the back of the top (nearest the sewn-in tag). Again, note the position of the single pre-drilled holes on the long bow frame. (Holes should be facing toward the middle of the canvas.)
Step 4. Pass the buckled end of the adjuster strap through opening in the fabric and around the long bow. Thread looped end through buckle. Attention should be paid to the orientation of the strap and buckle so that the finished piece resembles photo A. Pass the looped end of the strap over the end of the short bow and slide down into position directly across from opening in fabric where buckled end is attached. (See illustration.) Leave at maximum length. Repeat this step for the second strap. See enlargement.
Step 5. Pass looped end of each hold down strap over each end of the long and medium bows. Use a no. 8, 1/2” screw to fasten strap to bow frame at each pre-drilled hole position as shown. Position strap over hole and insert screw, with finish washer, through center of strap and into pre-drilled hole.
Step 6. Connect short frame ends to jaw slides on each side of long bow frame. Frame ends can be rotated to align with jaw slides. Repeat for medium frame ends as shown. Jaw slides should allow bows to pivot, but be tight enough to hold securely.
Installing your Bimini Top
Step 1. The Bimini Top is now ready to be inverted and positioned on the boat. This is easier with two or more people, one to hold the top in place, while another marks the positions of the hinges to be attached to the gunnel of the boat.
Step 2. Measure the marked position of the hinges carefully to make sure they are exactly opposite each other. If not aligned properly, the top may become warped or damaged and unstable while in use, or look unbalanced.
Step 3. Use a drill with a 9/64” bit to drill the pilot holes for the deck hinges. If drilling into fiberglass hollow out the pilot hole to avoid cracking fiberglass when installing the screws. Secure the deck hinges with 1”, no. 10 sheet metal screws provided.
Step 4. Place top on boat, attaching the long bow ends to the hinges securely. Raise top to desired upright position and adjust each hold-down strap. Straps should be adjusted to a length that attaches to the boat at approximately 45º to 60º angles to hold the top securely to boat.
Step 5. Mark the position of the eye straps on the gunnel of the boat, measuring to make sure they are exactly opposite each other on the sides of the boat. Use a drill with a 9/64” bit to drill the pilot holes for the eye straps. Be sure to hollow out the pilot holes with the drill bit if drilling into fiberglass. Secure the eye straps with 1”, no. 10 sheet metal screws provided.
Step 6. Attach the snap hook to the eye straps and adjust the hold down straps.
Please Note: The process of assembling the bimini frame may cause the width of the frame to expand or retract at the mounting points. If the frame appears too wide or too narrow when you are ready to mount the top on the boat, simply mount one side and, with minimal force, push or pull the opposite side to fit the mounting point on the gunwale.
Thru-Bolting Your Bimini Top
To prevent the possibility of personal injury or damage to your boat do not exceed 35 MPH with your Bimini top deployed without thru-bolting. Be aware of wind speeds and reduce speed accordingly when wind is present. Lower and secure your top when trailering.
If you need to travel at a speed higher than 35 MPH you may thru-bolt your top. We do not recommend traveling at speeds higher than 45 MPH in this case.
- Use Stainless Steel fittings, for added strength.
- Thru-bolt the eye straps and the deck hinges. You will need a longer bolt that will go through the fiberglass and extend to the underside. You can then add a washer and nut for extra security. This is necessary because of the friction from the wind. This friction causes the screw to wear at the fiberglass resulting in the Bimini coming loose.
- Check the angle of the top. The front of the top should be angled down, to do this pull the front hold down straps tight.
- Check all straps and fittings for tightness before use.
Cutting Down Your Bimini's Frame Height
The following size tops can be shortened in height by the recommended measurements below. All other tops can be shortened up to the first jaw slide.
- 35” High- Up to 5”
- 46”High- Up to 10”
If you wish to shorten the height of your top you may do so by cutting the desired length from the ends of the long bow using a hacksaw. Note: Do not shorten past the first jaw slide. Once the top has been shortened, use a 9/64” drill bit to carefully drill the hole for the rivet. Be sure the eye end is set in the correct position before you drill for the rivet. Use a rivet gun to set the rivet in place.
Additional Hardware Includes:
- 2- 3/16” Rivets
- 2- 7/8” Outside Eye Ends
*DO NOT attempt to cut any more length than what is recommended.
*DO NOT attempt to alter the short or medium bows.
Using Quick Release Pins
Quick Release Pins allow you to easily detach your top from the mounting brackets. These are a necessity for boaters that remove their tops after each excursion. Please see the directions below on how to install your quick release pins:
First remove the bolt from the deck hinge. Drill out the bolt hole with ¼” drill bit. Place tab on cable underneath deck hinge –secure with 1” – no. 10 screw.
Place the outside eye end of top or brace kit in deck hinge. Push pin in hole until metal ball passes through to keep the pin in place.
Caring for your Bimini Top
Protect your investment by following our Bimini Top Care Tips:
- Check all screws and fittings regularly and tighten as needed.
- Make sure hold down straps are tightened.
- When trailering, fold down your top and stow in the Storage Boot.
- We do not recommend exceeding 35 MPH with the top deployed without thru-bolting your top.
- Keep your top looking its best by regularly brushing away any loose dirt or debris with a soft brush, then rinse with lukewarm water.
- Clean your top as necessary using a solution of lukewarm water and a mild soap such as Ivory. Rinse thoroughly and allow to air dry.
- Always allow top to dry thoroughly before folding for storage.
- We highly recommend 303 Fabric & Vinyl Cleaner which is safe and effective. Be aware that repeated cleanings can diminish the water repellency of certain marine canvas. Apply 303 High Tech Fabric Guard to restore water repellency to factory-new levels.