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FAQ and Measuring Tips

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video camera icon Video: How to Correctly Measure for a Bimini Top

Here are a few tips that will help insure you get the right size top for your boat. There's also other answers to common questions. Also, we have application listings for most boats. Just give us a call or email us and we'll be sure you get the correct top.

Are you wondering how long your bimini top will be when it is lying down? You can now be sure of how long your bimini top will be when it is in the down position based on it's height when standing up. Simply click on any of the heights in the table below to see how far back the bimini will rest from the pivot point.

Bimini height upright Bimini length laid down
A B
3 Bow 4 Bow Horizontal Length
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Question:
How tall should my Bimini Top be ?

Answer:
Many customers state that they would like to be able to walk under their top without bending over. This is not always the best idea. Normally, in a small pleasure boat (15' -24') the occupants are standing only 5% of the time or less. There are exceptions to this rule of thumb such as pontoon/patio boats or boats that need the driver to be standing up in order to pilot the boat. When a bimini top is installed too high, there are trade-offs. One too high will not cover the desired area as well as one that is lower. Also, wind resistance increases as the top gets higher and if you had wanted a sail boat, you probably would have purchased one in the first place!

The Bimini Butler is also a good way to heighten your top if you feel you need more space.

bimini top height

Figure 1. To determine the correct height for your top, place a straight object across the boat at the gunnel height (where you believe your mounting brackets will be located). From there, measure straight up to the desired height of your bimini top (this will be measure "A").

bimini top width

Figure 2. To determine the correct width for your top, measure across your boat from gunnel to gunnel at the location where you would like the bimini top to be mounted. Keep in mind that on a 6' long top the brackets will be positioned about 1/2 way from the front (or back) of the bimini. To get an accurate idea of how much space is required for mounting the brackets onto your gunnels, please see the diagram below.

bimini top mounting bracket for boat deck

Question:
The tops my local boat shop sells and everything I've seen in catalogs and on the Internet have 1 type of mounting bracket. Is there a way to be sure a top will mount to my boat correctly?

Answer:
The Cool-Kit.


Question:
My boat has a top with it that came from the factory. It snaps to the windshield and the mounting brackets are already in place. Can I use those same brackets?

Answer:
The type of top this customer is referring to is called a "convertible" top. They are designed to be used in foul weather to keep the occupants of the boat dry and out of the wind. It is not a good idea to use the existing "convertible" top brackets as most of them are located on the angled side panels of the windshield. These brackets work fine when used with a "convertible" top as when it is in place, the snaps, brackets, and top work as a single unit and all move as one piece in the wind or when the boat is slapping on the waves. If a bimini top is mounted to these brackets, the jarring from the top (it's pretty much free floating and all bimini tops have some amount of "side-play") can cause the glass in the windshield side panels to fracture. These side panels are normally made from tempered glass and locating a replacement glass is very difficult.


Question:
When I mount it to the boat, do I mount it inside of the windshield or outside of it?

Answer:
If at all possible, try to mount your top on the outside of the windshield. This provides much better coverage in the late afternoon and it just looks better cosmetically.


Question:
The sizes you show on the web-site are a bit too tall for my particular need. Can I get a top that's slightly shorter than the sizes shown?

Answer:
Our tops are unique in that the main bow assembly, (the one all the other bows are attached to) is constructed so that if you need to adjust the height of a unit, it can be accomplished very easily. Example: If a 46" high top is too high and the 36" high unit is too low, order the 46" high top and cut off 2 or 3 inches off of the bottom of the main bow. The pivots that are located on the ends of the main bow assembly are held in place with stainless steel set-screws. Simply remove the pivot and hack-saw off a couple of inches. Even if your cuts are not perfect, no one will ever know as the receptacle in the pivot (the part where the end of the bow slides into) is nearly a full inch deep. It's always a good idea to try the top on your boat in the original size first. Put it on, take it on the water for a day or so, and then decide if you really want to have it lower or not. Remember, you can always cut material off, but putting it back on, (especially with our double-tubed main bow assemblies) can be tough!


Question:
How fast can I go with the top up ?

Answer:
Dang good question! I have a 3 bow 43" high (it started as a 46" unit but I cut it down) 6 foot long top on my boat. My little ski boat will go 40 MPH tops. The top begins to "wobble" a little at this speed and when we're headed into a strong wind, (this increases the wind speed on the top) I like to slow down a bit. The real key is to be sure that the anchors of the 2 forward straps be placed into a solid area of your boat. Also, the further forward you can place these anchors, the stronger your top will be. Always put your top down when trailering your boat down the highway unless you use the optional bimini top support brackets.


Question:
I'm trying to figure out where the main (mounting) brackets will be attached to my boat. Can you help?

Answer:
A good rule of thumb to use when trying to calculate the appropriate location for your main mounts is this: On a 6 foot long top the brackets will be located approximately at the 3'-2" mark as measured from the front of the top and moving back.

6 foot bimini top canvas

On an 8 foot long top the brackets will be located approximately at the 4'-2" mark as measured from the front of the top and moving back.

8 foot bimini top canvas

Question:
Do you offer the Bimini top support braces or the deck slides?

Answer:
Yes, we offer bimini top support braces and deck slides.


Question:
Can I get your top with a Stainless Steel frame and hardware?

Answer:
Yes. We offer all sizes listed on our web-site in Stainless Steel. Please give us a call for the pricing.


Question:
How long does it take to get the top once I order it?

Answer:
Our current production schedules are always posted right on our sites.


Question:
Are your tops difficult to install?

Answer:
No. As you can see in our Online Installation Guide, there are no "unusual" tools required. A typical top will take 2 hours or so to install. It's really that easy!

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