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What do I need to consider and think about when adding a bimini top?

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What do I need to consider and think about when adding a bimini top?

Old 07-17-2020, 07:57 AM
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Default What do I need to consider and think about when adding a bimini top?

I have a 23 Parker SE that I converted from a center console to a dual console. My wife wants sun protection on the boat and I can't blame her, I would appreciate it myself many days. I have never had a binimi top on any of my boats and I'm pretty sure there are many things to consider when planning to add one. One would be whether to add a bimini or a hard top. Aluminum or stainless frame? Quality of fittings, material and color choices, etc. How large should it be, how high? I'm over 6'6" tall. How easy are they to open up and close up. I will be going from never having to request a bridge opening to needing an opening every time I use my boat, and this bridge only opens on the hour. How will a hard top or bimini effect fishability? Lots of issues. Looking forward to comments. Thanks.
Old 07-17-2020, 08:00 AM
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Here are some things I would consider

-I would like the top designed in a way where I can fold it back
-When folded back I would like to have a cover that I can put over all of the bunched fabric
-Do you want to get zippers sewn into it in case you want to add an enclosure at some future point
-I would want a heave weight fabric
-Make sure it's tall enough so you can stand under it

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Old 07-17-2020, 10:23 AM
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It must be high enough to stand under. Keep it simple. Keep it in a boot when not in use. No point in having the sun destroying the thing when you are not using it. When down have it forward or aft. Your choice. Whichever works best on the boat. Don't run at speed with it open. Ridged supports either fwd or aft. Does not matter except for maybe bridge clearance. Figure 7' air draft for the boat. What is the bridge air draft? Locate it so that it covers the area of the boat used most. A SS frame will be more expensive, more durable & heavier. An aluminium frame is cheap, lightweight & subject to corrosion. My preference is SS fittings no matter the frame.

My boat is only 14' but the frame I scavenged from a 20' Whaler. In a sunny climate there is no such thing as a bimini too big. It is as far fwd as possible & will lay just fwd of the engine or on the bow. The boat is mooring kept so the frame is up leaning aft most of the time. If a hurricane is coming & the boat stays on it's mooring the frame is laid down fwd or aft to reduce windage.



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Old 07-17-2020, 10:50 AM
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does it interfere with the rods in the rod holders. i installed mine with out the slide. it only has one position and it just touches the rear rod in the console rod holders, but still gives me shade while driving.
Old 07-17-2020, 11:38 AM
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Hardtops are nice but pricey, and then you would have to by-pass any really low bridges. Stainless is better than aluminum, but that's all I've ever had on multiple boats and they've lasted well. Fittings can be aluminum and/or plastic; mine have lasted well. The bows will be as wide as necessary to allow deck mounting where appropriate. Off the shelf bows might be too short for you, but you can have them made taller. Any time you add bows it will be more difficult to fish around them, but you have to keep the wife happy.
Old 07-17-2020, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by sea hare View Post
I have a 23 Parker SE that I converted from a center console to a dual console. My wife wants sun protection on the boat and I can't blame her, I would appreciate it myself many days. I have never had a binimi top on any of my boats and I'm pretty sure there are many things to consider when planning to add one. One would be whether to add a bimini or a hard top. Aluminum or stainless frame? Quality of fittings, material and color choices, etc. How large should it be, how high? I'm over 6'6" tall. How easy are they to open up and close up. I will be going from never having to request a bridge opening to needing an opening every time I use my boat, and this bridge only opens on the hour. How will a hard top or bimini effect fishability? Lots of issues. Looking forward to comments. Thanks.
Good News? Easy to fold up, takes about 40 seconds. On the one on my Dad's boat it can run up to 40 MPH. I'm 6'3 and can stand easily under it.

Depending on how you fish it can be a pain, hard to troll with it, but easy to cast out of the front or cast from the rear of the boat.
Old 07-17-2020, 12:15 PM
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If the bridge opening is solely because of the top, you can easily fold down a canvas top to eliminate that issue. My 02 Deckliner still has the original frame but the top has been replaced. I went with the least expensive option on ebay because I only use mine on freshwater and have no plans on ever exceeding the warning label on the console of 35mph limit with top deployed, plus mine stays inside my shop. It's so simple to retract; unclip the two front straps and it folds back into a single bar on the rear. In your case where you could need complete drop of the bows and all, mine has two quick release pins so you can detach the rear vertical supports and lower the entire assembly down while still attached on the front pivots. I lower mine by myself (strap it down when towing at highway speeds), but with two people it's even easier as you'll have to either hold on to the vertical support bars (since they will be completely detached from the bottom and just swinging from the top brackets) or use a couple of bungees or velcro straps to strap them to the bow that rotates on the pivot. As far as fishing goes, it depends on how you fish from your boat. My Deckliner has platforms front and rear for fishing and the top does not interfere, but again we are talking about a freshwater boat with significantly lighter weight rod/reel combos of shorter length. It's completely doable and makes life much more enjoyable as long as you can work around it's design.
Old 07-17-2020, 02:24 PM
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I’d love to see some pictures of the dual console conversion.

Old 07-17-2020, 02:44 PM
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get a good brand one ,so as when you smash it on something or a strong gust of wind get under it and it gets all buckled up, you will be able to get spare rods and fittings ...

and that is all i have to say on the PIA, POS things >>
Old 07-17-2020, 03:05 PM
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If you spend a bit extra coin, get a custom Bimini built instead of the cheaper generic ones you see on eBay that assemble. Get the metal hardware instead of the plastic stuff. It will last longer and be stronger.
I run 40-50mph in the Glades with the top up when I'm running from a storm, and it's a tall Bimini. Been on there a few years.



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Old 07-17-2020, 03:14 PM
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-Get it tall enough to be able to stand under it
-fasten it to a couple pieces of lumber and slide it back and forth to decide where to mount. if folded back, don't want it interfering with the motor, or in the middle of the cockpit. Also want to make sure the shade is where you want it.
-definitely prefer the hard support poles on one end. Put them in the front if you fish the most from the back, and the back if you fish the most from the front.
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Old 07-17-2020, 03:24 PM
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Good advice I needed this thanks
Old 07-17-2020, 07:44 PM
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On a 23 ft boat I would go with a Stainless steel frame with a stainless back bar to support and hold it when folded and straps or stainless bar forward too. That big a boat could probably handle a 4 bow set up with a large back bow, forward bow and two bows in the middle (on off the front bow and one off the back bow). Nothing provides shade like a Bimini top. You can always ford it back if it gets in the way while fishing but once you have it up you’ll probably never take it down. Make the investment in a custom made to fit Bimini with all stainless fittings. Properly taken care of they will last a long long time.. Oh, Use the sunbrella fabric that is laminated on the bottom. Makes it water proof for those summer showers.
Old pic


Old 07-18-2020, 08:41 AM
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Single, double, camper...if you’re gonna do it, you can actually build some really versatile stuff. Sumbrella. Thru bolt everything. Add eisenglass if you want more visibility and wind spray protection. Good lick





Old 07-18-2020, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by iwhitevt View Post
-Get it tall enough to be able to stand under it
-fasten it to a couple pieces of lumber and slide it back and forth to decide where to mount. if folded back, don't want it interfering with the motor, or in the middle of the cockpit. Also want to make sure the shade is where you want it.
-definitely prefer the hard support poles on one end. Put them in the front if you fish the most from the back, and the back if you fish the most from the front.
Not the OP, but in same situation, so thanks for the tips....esp regarding the lumber.
Old 07-18-2020, 09:14 AM
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I'm thinking of ordering one from these guys.

https://www.anp.ca/specifications-fe...specifications
Old 07-18-2020, 11:42 AM
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The boat is a few days from being moved from my driveway to the engine dealer where it will have a new 175 HP Suzuki put on. Right now its under two canopies so pictures would not be that good. I think I'm going to like the dual console set up, I sure hope so because I have hundreds of hours in this project. I will post a whole bunch of pictures in a couple weeks when it is in the water. By the way, I purchased this boat brand new 33 years ago as a bare hull and for 30 years it was a center console.

Thanks for all the great replies to my post.
Old 07-18-2020, 11:54 AM
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I have a 19 ft Mako CC and it came with a bimini top. Hated, hated, hated it. There were so many issues with sliding, folding, getting in the way, taking it on and off, etc. One day I said screw this and I went and had a custom T-Top made for the boat including rod holders, canvas top, storage compartment plastic on front and sides and lights. BEST purchase I have ever made for my boat. I would never even consider a bimini if I were you. If you've resolved to have to wait for bridge openings hourly anyway - then just go for the T-Top. That's my opinion from my own experience.
Old 07-18-2020, 12:11 PM
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From YEARS of owning Bimini Tops.......

1. Stainless tubes, NOT aluminum
2. full 1" NOT 7/8"
3. it should come with a boot, not be extra
4. stainless mounting hardware
5. slide mounting allows it to be slid forward or back
6. keep 303 handy for use about 3 times a year
7. and last but not least....................Carver brand and Sunbrella.... available through iBoats..... made in Greenville, SC, USA!!
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Old 07-18-2020, 07:49 PM
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I have a Carver Bimini in Sunbrella fabric, aluminum rods and ss fittings. I have no issues with it at all, the aluminum is pretty stout, makes easy removal. SS is definitely a better rod material, but also quite heavy, You can’t go wrong with Carver, great customer service. If you’re thinking of removing the top, consider the quick disconnect option.

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