In the sea of boats that are on the market today, there’s one steadfast feature that you can find with just about any brand. This component is essential for owners of recreational vessels no matter where they boat and plays a big role in comfortability as well as the aesthetic of the boat. I’m talking about the bimini and in this article, I'm narrowing in on pontoon boat biminis specifically. The bimini top is a key component for being comfortable on the water on hot days. It is also a standout feature on a pontoon boat. Most pontoon brands include a bimini standard. However, if it is not a standard, you can likely add it as an option. Biminis are a great feature for any boat and are especially prominent on a pontoon. Although biminis are very commonplace, they don’t always look the same from brand to brand. Different pontoon manufacturers add their own style to biminis to make them more desirable for customers. [Normal Bimini on Pontoon] As a boat owner, it’s important to understand how they work and how to keep them functioning in top condition. I’ll go over that and more in this article. First, we’ll start by understanding the purpose and function of a bimini. Biminis are used primarily to protect those on board from the sun and offer a cooler place to sit in the boat. This is critical for those who spend large amounts of time out on the water. Biminis offer protection against harmful UV rays that can cause damage to your skin and overall health. This is a big reason people love biminis. They allow you to enjoy the boat for long periods while still having protection from the sun.
Purpose of a Bimini
In the sea of boats that are on the market today, there’s one steadfast feature that you can find with just about any brand. This component is essential for owners of recreational vessels no matter where they boat and plays a big role in comfortability as well as the aesthetic of the boat.
I’m talking about the bimini and in this article, I'm narrowing in on pontoon boat biminis specifically. The bimini top is a key component for being comfortable on the water on hot days. It is also a standout feature on a pontoon boat.
Most pontoon brands include a bimini standard. However, if it is not a standard, you can likely add it as an option. Biminis are a great feature for any boat and are especially prominent on a pontoon.
Although biminis are very commonplace, they don’t always look the same from brand to brand. Different pontoon manufacturers add their own style to biminis to make them more desirable for customers.
[Normal Bimini on Pontoon]
As a boat owner, it’s important to understand how they work and how to keep them functioning in top condition. I’ll go over that and more in this article.
First, we’ll start by understanding the purpose and function of a bimini. Biminis are used primarily to protect those on board from the sun and offer a cooler place to sit in the boat. This is critical for those who spend large amounts of time out on the water.
Biminis offer protection against harmful UV rays that can cause damage to your skin and overall health. This is a big reason people love biminis. They allow you to enjoy the boat for long periods while still having protection from the sun.
Another reason they're important is if you plan on boating with dogs or kids, they will need a break from the sun. Dogs are likely to overheat if they’re exposed to the hot sun too long. Likewise, children have sensitive skin that can burn easily leaving them with a painful sunburn. Biminis can help prevent these issues from happening.
The bimini is so popular with pontoons because of its versatile nature. The SUV of the water, these boats are great for all ages which makes shade a top concern for all types of passengers. Overall, they make time spent out on the water that much more enjoyable for everyone on board. They are part of the reason people flock to pontoons.
Structure of a Bimini
Most pontoon biminis are fairly similar in the way that they are built. Most have 4 support beams across the top of the canvas. This setup allows the bimini canvas to cover a significant amount of space on the boat.
Pontoon biminis typically shade the captain’s chair, co-captains chair or lounge, and the seats at the stern. Remember, not all pontoon biminis are the same so there may be variations in where exactly the bimini sits. However, this coverage is most common among pontoon boats.
This setup usually leaves the front of the boat exposed to the sun. Some people like this because you can sit in the sun if you please or in the shade. It allows for everyone on the boat to be happy.
Biminis are often secured to the rails using struts. This provides extra stability for the open canvas while out on the water. Struts help keep your bimini from blowing away as the canvas can take on wind as a sail would when deployed.
Before opening your bimini and taking off at full speed, check with the pontoon boat manufacturer to know what speed you should be going with the bimini open. It could rip, tear, and cause damage to the boat. As I mentioned, it can become a big sail at high speeds so it’s always good to be sure of the speed limitations provided by the manufacturer.
This is true for any brand on the market and Barletta pontoons are no different. I’m going to give you the bimini 101 if you own a Barletta so that you’re in the know before hitting the water.
Barletta took a classic bimini and the idea of making it electric and made it a standard on all Barletta pontoon boat models. This means that every single boat no matter what trim level will be equipped with an electric bimini included as a standard. That’s not the case with all other pontoon brands.
If you’ve ever had to operate a manual bimini, you know what a relief an electric bimini can provide. It takes the hassle and frustration out of putting up and taking down the bimini because all you have to do is remove the boot and press a button.
Now, you might be thinking, what if the motor malfunctions and the bimini is stuck in the up or down position? Barletta has already thought through this and there’s an easy manual override that will eliminate this concern. The power bimini found on all Barletta's has been a huge hit among our Barletta family.
I know from experience that it is a pain trying to set the bimini up manually, especially attempting to set it up alone. I would have to stand on the seats to get it to where it needed to be. Because a manual bimini is so cumbersome, I hardly ever wanted to go through the hassle of setting it up. Barletta makes it easy with the powered bimini that is up within seconds of pressing a button.
Beyond the typical rear bimini, Barletta offers other options to upgrade the bimini as well. One option is a second, powered bimini that can be installed on your boat. This bimini works to protect the front part of the boat that doesn’t get shade from the rear bimini. It is very similar to the classic bimini on the back of the boat, but it’s attached to the bow rails.
This is perfect for anyone planning on spending a ton of time out on the water. The shade provided offers a lot of relief from the sun while still allowing a breeze to cool you down. A double bimini is a great option to consider if you want extra sun protection on your boat.
Mediterranean Sail Shade
There’s another option that Barletta offers if you want even more protection from the sun. It’s called the Mediterranean Sail Shade. Its design is influenced by the canopies you would find on a yacht. It acts as an extension of the rear bimini and extends to the front of the boat. This feature also provides an extended amount of protection against the sun and weather.
The Mediterranean Sail Shade is a hit among boaters who live in extremely hot climates and like to park and float for the day. However, this option is not made for having up while driving the boat. This is primarily used for floating in one spot and needing a little extra shade. Nevertheless, this is a great option if you feel you won’t need a double bimini all the time.
One alternative to the typical pontoon bimini is an arch. Barletta offers an arch in the Lusso and Corsa series and it replaces the rear bimini. The arch is similar to a tower you find on a towboat. This is a great option if you plan on using the boat for different types of watersports.
The arch is also a beautiful feature to add. Some love the look of it and feel it adds to the entire aesthetic of the boat. This feature adds a sport and sleek vibe and is also functional which is a bonus. The Lusso offers a power arch and the Corsa offers a manual arch. Both options come with a bimini top that you are able to extend for extra shade.
No matter what kind of boat you have and what type of bimini is attached, a certain amount of care is required. The bimini top is usually constructed with a large piece of canvas. Do you know what else is a large canvas? Think sail on a sailboat as they are similar in how they react to wind.
This means, as a boater you need to be cautious when underway with the bimini deployed. Often issues arise when someone drives the boat too fast with the bimini open. This can cause tears in the canvas. It may also cause structural damage to the skeleton of the bimini, both of which you want to avoid.
Always be sure to check out information from your boat’s manufacturer to know how fast you can go with the bimini open. This will save you from causing damage to your bimini and potentially your boat as well.
Also, consider a bimini or an arch will add to the height of your boat since they sit above the rest of it. For this reason, you should always be cautious when passing under bridges or any low clearances. Some bridges allow for you to leave your bimini open and up with plenty of room. However, there are some that you will have to drop your bimini or arch into the traveling position when passing under a bridge.
No two boats will have the same height as there are many different variables that come into play when on a boat. First, the weight of the boat will be different from boat to boat based on factors such as what size engine is on the boat or how many people are on board. Along with that bi-toons and tri-toons will have different water lines.
When passing under a bridge, always use your best judgment. If there’s any question of whether your boat will fit with the bimini up or not, put it down. It will save you from taking off your navigation light and pole or even the entire bimini.
The last part of caring for your bimini is to always check it before heading out on the water. Make sure that all the parts are in working condition. It is never fun to get out on the water only to realize the bimini isn’t working right or something on it is broken.
Barletta Bimini Care
If you own a Barletta, we’ve got multiple documents in the Document Center regarding bimini usage and care. I’m going to run through some of the basics. Here are a couple of tips to remember when operating the bimini on your Barletta.
Let’s start with lowering and raising the powered bimini. This is an important piece of information to know if you have only operated manual biminis in the past. When you go to raise your bimini, make sure you hold the button down until the motor stops and you hear a faint click sound. That sound will indicate that the bimini is up as far as it can go, it will also automatically stop when it gets to this point which is called the radar position
It is also super important that you do the same thing when lowering your bimini into the traveling position. This will keep the motor in the bimini arm healthy and working in the best condition. Whenever you fold your bimini into either radar or the traveling position, be sure to put the bimini boot on. This will help keep unwanted water, bugs, and animals out of the bimini canvas while it is parked.
The last bit of knowledge I have for Barletta owners is how to treat the bimini while underway. Depending on the position of the bimini, there are speed limits. Speed limits are determined by SureShade Power Bimini who manufactures the bimini along with the motor. I highly recommend knowing the speed limits in the different positions to keep from breaking the bimini.
Don’t forget that wind can play a role in the speed you are able to run with the bimini open. Headwinds will cause extra stress on the bimini at low speeds. Always be cautious and take these factors into account before heading out on the water.
[Find this information in Barletta Pontoon Boat document center: Barletta Power Bimini Manual]
Enjoy a Shady Spot
Now you have all the tools you need to enjoy your pontoon boat with your bimini. They are such a great feature to have onboard. Bimini tops provide relief from the sun and can even provide shelter from a light rain shower. Once you have a boat with a bimini, you’ll never be able to go back to a boat without one.
Biminis require light maintenance but as long as you take the time to care for your bimini properly, it will likely work great for years. With this information, it’s now time to enjoy the warm summer weather on your boat.