Rag Top Replacement

Replacing a pontoon's Bimini top doesn't have to be a time consuming chore.

Rag Top Replacement

Zippered pockets make mounting the replacement rag a breeze!

We had a major “blow” come though earlier this summer, which took out my decade-old Bimini boat top. I keep my pontoon at a dock six months out of the year, located in a semi-protected cove where I have never had issues with keeping my Bimini deployed for the season to help protect the cockpit and console from the elements. Time took its toll on the top, and the stitching securing the sewn-in pockets that hold the middle bows finally gave-out under the pressure of the big breeze last month. The fabric itself was showing wear and mildew had done some damage, so it was time for a replacement.

I was able to track down the manufacturer of the original top and ordered a replacement "rag," as I learned the fabric is referred to in the boat top business. In the process I received a clinic in the process of ordering a proper replacement canopy from industry veteran Dan Marsh of Pontoon Specialists. The secret is getting precise measurements of the original supports and hardware and their positions on the boat – rather than the dimensions of the former fabric canopy itself – to provide whomever is supplying the new top so that they can comes as close to the original canopy possible.

| |Ten seasons of deployment under wind and rain and U/V rays deteriorated the stitching in the Bimini top to the point that a strong summer breeze tore them loose from the fabric pockets holding the support bows in position.|

We followed his advice and, supplemented by photos, were able to provide the required information to get us a fitting replacement.

I remember assembling the original Bimini top when we rebuilt the boat, what a pain it was threading the supports through the stitched-in pockets at the front, rear and middle sections of the cover, and wasn’t looking forward to removing all the hardware and repeating the chore. I was pleasantly surprised when the replacement “rag” from Pontoon Specialists came with pockets that fully opened with zippers, allowing us to replace the old rag with the Bimini support bows and hardware in place. A job that we anticipated taking half an afternoon actually took a half an hour -- buying the family a few extra hours on the water at a point in the boating season when they are numbered and therefore much appreciated.

| |The new Bimini canopy in place in less than an hour.|