A bimini top is not just an accessory for your boat to make it look attractive and pleasant. It protects you from the scorching sun in the middle of the sea, and from pouring in the rain. Installing a bimini top is always a great idea, which allows you to relax no matter what the weather condition is. Whether you buy a bimini top or canopy for your pontoon boat, installing it is not much difficult at all. Most of the Bimini top comes with all the installing kits and attachments, and manuals. There are lots of video tutorials on YouTube, which makes it even more, more comfortable for you to install your bimini top right.
Most of the people’s concerns lie in how to install a bimini top on a pontoon boat properly. But with following the instructions right, it is just a matter of a few minutes to get it done right. Here in this article, I’m going to help you with details about installing a bimini top.
How to Install a Bimini Top on a Pontoon Boat
Deciding the right size and material:
What size bimini top do I need is the most frequently asked question of the buyers. Bimini tops are available in many sizes. It creates confusion sometimes about the right size of the bimini top. It depends on the size of your boat, which size of the bimini top will be suitable for you. Three bow bimini tops are enough for covering the deck of the standard-size boats. But for larger inflatable boats, you can go for the four-bow canopy or tops.
It is crucial to pick the right size for covering your deck and for protecting you. With the number of bows, you get to know about the number of sections of the frames.
Along with the right size, one needs to choose the right material for the frame and the content of the canvas. Too heavy metal on the frame will increase the weight, so you don’t want something too heavy or too light for your bimini top. It should be strong enough to hold the pressure of storms and winds. Stainless steel and aluminum can be great pickups for that purpose.
And when it comes to the canvas material, you should always keep in mind it should protect you from sun exposure as well as from rain. If the quality of the canvas is not up to the mark, it will fade away soon and might tear apart. So, go for the marine-grade quality materials that will go a long way.
All the bimini tops come with installation instructions and manuals. You must go through it very well. Every product and attachment work uniquely. You must not miss any details to install it properly.
Set up the bimini:
After receiving the whole package, open the setups on the ground and lay them separately in order following the instruction. In this way, you will not miss any attachments while assembling it. It quickens the installation process to a great extent.
After picking out all the components from the package, spread the canvas on open ground. Be careful not to put on any elements that can damage it.
It is always better to follow the manufacturer’s instructions step by step. After separating and preparing for the installation process, you can start with the assembling frame section. Frames are easy to fit together. Either they snap together, or you will have to connect them using a screwdriver.
After setting the frames up, you can proceed to assemble the mounting brackets.
Set up the bimini mounts:
You should decide at the very beginning where you want to set up the bimini top. No matter which size you choose for your pontoon boat, you should make sure it covers as much as the deck area to give you enough shade.
To decide the ideal location of the canopy and central pivot, measure out the length of your bimini top to the full extent with a tape measure.
If you don’t measure it right and set up the mounts at the wrong angles, your bimini top will stow away in the wind. The pivot location should be in the middle of the total length of the coverage. So, you must align the position of the two mounts that points directly across from each other. To avoid misalignment, you can measure the mounting locations from the specified point.
All the bimini top mounting fixtures are not the same. Following the instructions and using the fixture kit, attach the bracket and screws. You might need to drill some holes in the frame or self-tap the screws to drive through them in the railing. Before drilling or driving the screws, it is better to mark them so that you don’t miss the exact location where exactly it needs to go. Don’t overtighten the screw; neither put them in loose.
You should always be careful about the materials of your fasteners and railing. If the metals mismatch, it increases the chance of corrosion during the installation process. To avoid it, you can coat the connection to prevent galvanic reaction if your railing metal and fasteners metal is not the same.
Proceed with installing the bimini cover:
After assembling all the pivot brackets, proceed with the frame.
Installing a bimini frame is quite a tough job. With the help of another hand, you can do it quickly.
Place the bimini into the mounts with fasteners. It should be facing the front of the boat. After that, you can decide on suitable places for the hold-down straps and the bow straps. If the mounts are not placed in the frame, you will have to do it on your own. Then set up straps onto the frame to find the right place for them to mount on the boat.
After marking the strap eyes on either side of the boat, spread the bimini top down properly and drill and fasten the strap eyes right. Don’t over-tighten the fasteners. The seam ends will tear down soon this way. Secure the bimini top properly by installing the hook in the straps to the right strap eyes.
If you find instructions a bit complicated, you can always check different video tutorials that make the installing procedure easier.
For more details, you can check out this complete video guide to learn it visually –
Video Credit – Sailrite
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