How to Secure a Bimini Top for Travel

How to Secure a Bimini Top for Travel

If you’re the proud owner of a boat with a bimini top, you already know how crucial it is to keep it in pristine condition. Not only does it keep you and your passengers protected from the sun’s harmful rays, but it also helps extend the lifespan of your boat’s upholstery.

However, when it comes to traveling with your vessel, securing a bimini top can seem daunting. Don’t fret though, as we’ve put together a comprehensive guide on how to secure a bimini top for travel.

What Really is a Bimini Top

A Bimini top is essentially a canvas cover supported by a metal frame that can be mounted onto a boat. Its main purpose is to provide shade and protect you from unfavorable weather conditions.

Whether it’s the scorching summer sun, a sudden downpour, or strong winds, a Bimini top acts as your first line of defense against these elements. Choosing the right Bimini top for your boat is crucial. Start by measuring your boat accurately to ensure a proper fit.

The width, length, and height of your Bimini top should correspond to the size of your boat and the area you want to cover. Consider the material of the Bimini top as well.

Marine-grade polyester or acrylic are popular choices due to their durability and resistance to UV rays, water, and mildew. Also, consider the frame material aluminum frames are lightweight and affordable, while stainless steel frames offer higher strength and corrosion resistance.

How to Secure a Bimini Top for Travel


As an experienced boater, I can’t stress enough the importance of having a Bimini top on your boat. It’s one of those boating accessories that not only adds aesthetic value but also provides practical benefits, protecting you and your passengers from harsh sunlight, wind, and rain.

In this guide, I will walk you through the process of selecting, mounting, and installing a Bimini top on your boat.

Firstly, it’s important to take note of your bimini top’s current placement. Has it been fastened tightly in a secure position? Or has it been left loose as it would be typically on a sunny day ride? If it’s the latter, for safe travel, it’s recommended that you fold the canvas down before securing the hold-down straps.

A bimini top’s frame is fastened to a mounting point on the boat with either bimini hinges, pins, or a bimini deck mount system. It’s essential to ensure that these mounting points are bolted securely and that all pins are in position to prevent any potential damage that could arise from the top becoming loose mid-travel.

To keep your bimini top secure while travelling and prevent it from flapping in the wind, extra support straps (or tension straps) can be employed. Start by positioning the support straps so they intersect with the bimini bows. This will create a triangle deflection that prevents the canopy wings from flapping around in turbulent air.

If you have opted for a high-quality bimini top, then it might be equipped with zippers on the sides. Zippering the sides of your bimini top can create a relatively tight and secure bundle, which will reduce the wind resistance produced by the folds made when the top is stored in its travel position.

When you have completed the above tips, and you’re ready to set sail, you want to reduce the undoing associated with loose ends when you embark on the journey. It’s best to keep all the loose ends from the support straps, left-over and mid-frame, tied down in a bundle. This step will reduce added air-drag that could arise from loosely hanging straps.

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Where Should a Bimini Top Be Mounted?

When deciding where to mount your Bimini top, there are several factors to consider. These include the size of your boat, the number of passengers typically onboard, prevailing wind direction, and common weather patterns in your area.

How to Secure a Bimini Top for Travel

The Bimini top should ideally be positioned to provide maximum shade for the driver and passengers without obstructing visibility or access to essential controls. For most boats, the Bimini top is mounted at or near the helm.

Understanding Mounting Options

There are three common mounting options for Bimini tops: top-mount, side-mount, and deck-mount.

  • Top-mount: This is the most common type of Bimini top installation. The mounts are attached to the top surface of the boat.
  • Side-mount: In this method, the mounts are attached to the sides of the boat. This is often used when the top of the boat doesn’t have sufficient space for mounting.
  • Deck-mount: Deck mounts are used when you want to attach your Bimini top directly to the deck of the boat.

Your choice among these options will depend on your boat’s design and your personal preference.

Installing the Bimini Top

Now, let’s move on to the installation process. Here are some general steps:

  1. Assemble Your Bimini Top: Following the manufacturer’s instructions, assemble your Bimini top on a flat surface before mounting it on your boat.
  2. Position the Bimini Top: Place the assembled Bimini top on your boat in the location where it will be mounted. Ensure it is centered and covers the desired area.
  3. Mark the Mounting Points: With the Bimini top in place, mark the points where the mounts will be attached.
  4. Drill Pilot Holes: Drill pilot holes at the marked points. Be sure to use a drill bit that is slightly smaller than your screws to prevent splitting or cracking.
  5. Install the Mounts: Attach the mounts to your boat using the provided screws. Make sure they’re secure and tightly fastened.
  6. Attach the Bimini Top: Finally, attach your Bimini top to the installed mounts. Check that it opens, closes, and secures properly.

Remember, every Bimini top and boat is different, so always refer to the specific instructions provided by the manufacturer. And, of course, safety first! Make sure your Bimini top is securely fastened before hitting the water.


Your bimini top is an essential fixture on your boat, and securing it for travel is vital to its longevity and functionality. The next time you’re traveling with your boat, make sure to use our tips above to secure your bimini top properly.

Remember, the goal is to safely transport your boat without any damage to your bimini top or your vessel, and the above steps will go a long way in ensuring that both are protected and secured.

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