A lot of people in Australia search the web for ‘boat canopy’ when they are actually looking for a bimini top. A bimini top is a canvas top for the boat, open to all sides and usually supported by a metal frame. It provides protection from the sun whilst allowing air to flow underneath, and can usually be collapsed if not needed. It only provides protection from rain if the boat is stationary.
If you have a centre-console boat however, you may need a T-Top. T-Tops are similar to biminis in that they provide a canopy for centre-console boats, but they look like a 'T' shaped structure when viewed from the side as the canopy extends some distance from the frame. The frame supporting the canopy top is attached entirely to the boat's centre console area.
There is also another type of boat canopy which uses metal frames and canvas to create a protective area over the boat’s entrance and part of the cockpit area. These often have vinyl windows, provide some protection from rain and sea spray, and are most commonly found on yachts. In the USA these are typically known as ‘boat dodgers’ or ‘spray hoods’. Here in Australia you may also hear them referred to as a boat canopy, spray dodger or yacht dodger.
Most bimini tops have three bows or four bows which are the steel frames that run through the fabric. Three bows are used on runabouts while four bows are needed on pontoons and larger fishing boats. The most common size is three bows. Within each of the bow sizes are multiple canopy heights, widths and lengths to choose from depending on the size of your boat and how much coverage you want. If you're going to stand under your bimini, pick one that will give you enough headroom height. The width depends on the points where the two deck hinges attach.
The struts on most bimini tops are made from aluminium tubing. Aluminium is an ideal material because it’s strong but lightweight and corrosion resistant.
The fabric cover is usually a 600D polyester fabric with a polyurethane coating to make it water resistant. Polyester fabric is used more often than canvas because it has better tear resistance. UV and mildew treatments by the manufacturer gives the fabric a longer life. Fabrics come in a few colours to coordinate with most boat colourings.
Adjustable bimini tie straps ensure the cover stays in place when you are at anchor and motoring at full speed. Biminis should be easy to put up and take down, so you are more likely to want to store it after each use and not just the first one. A sock for storage is usually included when you purchase a bimini top.
We also stock rocket launchers (also known as rod racks) which can be purchased as an add-on to your existing bimini or as a package deal with your new bimini.