The History Of The Bimini Top Is Not As Exotic As You Might Think

 Bimini tops are very practical fabric shelters or covers that provide good protection for a boat's cockpit. There are also versions to be used with Jeeps. This type of top is constructed of a durable, sun resistant fabric on a metal frame that can be collapsed when protection from sun, spray and/or rain is not needed. 

Although there is a string of islands in the Bahamas that bears the name, Bimini, this particular type of top was actually invented by a gentleman in Rhode Island - Paul Johnson of Johnson's Marine Cushion & Canvas Company. This ingenious invention is designed in such a way that it can be attached to the deck or gunwale of a boat using a set of main hinges that support the top when it is in use and allow it to fold down when not in use. 

The design is simple, yet effective. When you want to enjoy shade and shelter, you simply expand the hinged metal bows and raise the top. Secure it in place with tie-downs in front and back. When you do not need shelter any longer, reverse the process and store the top away in the convenient "boot" that comes with most of these devices. 

What You Need To Know About Selecting A Top For Your Boat It is important to get your top in just the right size so that it will function correctly. The most important measurement you need to take is the width. This is the distance between the spaces where you want to mount your hinges. The majority of frames for Bimini tops can be adjusted somewhat to accommodate your boat.

Tops generally come in standard lengths. They are four feet, six feet, eight feet and ten feet. Be sure to consider the length of your boat and/or the area you wish to shade. The height of the top is also an important consideration. It must be in proportion with your boat and also provide you ample head room. 

Generally speaking, high performance and ski boats do will with a 30-36 inch high top. Fishing boats and runabouts do better with a top that is 36-48 inches high. Boats that have center consoles, deck boats and pontoons usually do best with a 48-60 inch top. 

Measure carefully and get a clear idea of exactly what you want before you go looking for your top. If you are shopping online, you will find that many websites have a handy tool to help you calculate the right size of top to suit the size of your boat and your needs. Just key in your boat's year, make and model for good recommendations. This will save you a lot of time. 

Be sure to get the best quality fabric for your top that you can afford. You want the top to give you good protection from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. 
You want it to be able to stand up to the elements for a good period of time. For this reason, you should select a very high quality, durable fabric. 100% synthetic fabrics such as marine grade acrylic and polyester are best for this application. They resist rotting and mildew far better than cotton blends. 

With some tops, the storage boot is optional. If this is the case with the style you select, you should be sure to opt for the storage boot. It is extremely handy and keeps your top well protected when not in use. While these tops have an exotic and tropical sounding name, the fact is they are truly a practical and useful addition to your boat. 

When you invest in a well-made, high quality top you can enjoy your boat safely and comfortably on hot sunny days and when there is a bit of a drizzle. Investing in a Bimini top will help you get a lot more value and use from your boat.