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How to Choose the Right Bimini Top

Six items to consider when choosing a Bimini top.

February 26, 2013
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Bimini tops rank as one of the most popular marine accessories. What should you look for when buying a boat with a Bimini top, or fitting your current ride with a replacement shade? We’ve got you covered.

1. Sunbrella
This solution-dyed acrylic holds color best, resists shrinking and stretching, and cleans with relative ease, but it is not 100 percent waterproof. It’s highly resistant to ultraviolet light but less abrasion-resistant than other choices.

2. Stamoid
This vinyl-coated polyester is waterproof, resists abrasion where the fabric bears on the frame better than others, and is very easy to clean and keep clean. It is highly resistant to UV light though not as colorfast as other choices.

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3. SeaMark
This vinyl-coated acrylic is 100 percent waterproof, provides excellent abrasion resistance and is very easy to clean and keep clean. But it weighs 50 percent more than other choices do.

4. Stainless Steel
This is the strongest, most durable choice for the frame, bows and fittings. Period.

5. Bow Count
Demand one bow — frame cross-member — for every two feet of length. Continous bows provide better long-term service than those built in sections to ease shipping.

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6. Deck Fittings
Quick-release hinges that swivel and allow the frame to pop in and out are great, but pricey. Simple hinges with pull pins — either those with toggles or the captive-ball type — serve much the same purpose at a lower cost.

Considerations: Our testing proves that a Bimini top scrubs up to 2 mph off a boat’s speed.

Suggested Reading:
Cleaning Mildewed Canvas
Canvas Care
Pontoon Boat Canvas Pointers

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