How to Install a Bimini Top for Your Boat

Biminis are great additions to boats. They let you create a shady spot when you want it, protecting you from painful sunburns that often accompany a day on the water. However, if you want to work on your tan, you can fold it back and lie in the warm sun. Though many Bimini tops are sturdy, they are also versatile enough to adjust to the sun’s angle. Installing a Bimini top is a relatively simple affair that takes a little less than two hours to complete.

Getting Started

Before you begin your installation, be sure that you have gathered all your necessary tools and supplies. It also doesn’t hurt to do a little research online; Big Air’s FAQ page is a great place to start. Having everything ready to go will make your process flow more smoothly. Your supplies will include a six-foot long Bimini top, a polysulfide sealant, a tape measure, masking tape, and four eye straps with fasteners. You will need the following tools:

  • T-square for the deck hinges
  • Box-wrench set
  • Screwdriver set
  • Power drill
  • Countersink bit

Choose the Size

The Bimini top’s width is decided by the measurement between the two points where the deck hinges will be secured. However, the height and length of the top can be changed, so if you want to ensure that you can stand up under the top, you need to check whether or not the height and the distance below the mounting point give you enough room. Most tops are between four and eight feet long, but the most popular length for tops on runabouts is six feet.

Position the Top

Get a friend to help you with this step. Ask him to support the fully extended top while you determine exactly where to install the deck hinges. The placement of the deck hinges signifies the longitudinal midpoint of the top, and it’s crucial that the hinges are parallel and opposite of each other.

Install the Deck Hinges

Use the masking tape to cover the mounting surface and then place the deck hinges to mark the mounting holes. With your drill, make holes in the designated places and chamfer them using a countersink to help stop gelcoat cracking. Next, remove the tape and use a sealant on the surface. Afterwards, screw in each deck hinge.

Install the Top and Eye Straps

First, you should fasten the bases of the main bow to the deck hinges. After you’ve done this, you can raise the top and extend the aft and fore straps, keeping them in line with the legs of the bows. You want them to form an M-shape. Use this as a cue for the placement of your eye straps. After you drill and chamfer the holes, you can bed and mount each pair. Finally, attach the eye straps to the snap hooks and tighten the top with the buckles.

Admire Your Work

Once you’ve installed your Bimini top, you’re ready to cruise in shady style on the water.

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