Bimini Tops: Top 3 Things to Look for in a Bimini Top
Have you ever wondered where the name “Bimini Top” came from? It’s kind of an odd word for the English language, but the history behind it is even more interesting. The word Bimini touches on a variety of topics from pre-Columbian native language to Prohibition-era rum trade. It even extends to modern day FDA guidelines for sun protection.
With a nickname like the “Fishing Capital of the Bahamas”, it’s unsurprising that the Bimini Islands in the Bahamas are where an installable, replaceable, and protective boating cover would be developed. In the Lucayan language (the native language of those that live in the Bimini Islands) the word Bimini means Two Islands. Probably referring to the two largest islands in the chain. Of the two, the north island is the main center of tourism, hosting hotels, bars, restaurants, and shops in Alice Town. The south island’s tourism has mainly been limited to boaters due to it being a more residential area. During the Prohibition era, William S. McCoy infamously used the Bimini Islands as a supply point for illegal rum-running. Many others also took advantage of the island’s proximity to the USA (only 50 miles from the coast of Florida) to rest and restock during this time. As traffic to the islands increased, so did interest in the seas around them.
As more and more boaters flocked to the area, legend has it that they started to attach poles to their boats, forming skeletal structures and covering them with canvas to hide from the rays of the sun. Over time, those initial designs developed into the boat accessory known today as the Bimini Top, providing shade and sun protection to boaters worldwide. Sun protection was a big deal back then, and still is one of the most important things to pay attention when engaging in outdoor activities. Luckily, it’s easy to create shade on boats with the addition of a bimini top. Here are the top 3 things you need to know when shopping for a Bimini Top or even a replacement canvas.
Top 3 Things to Look for in a Bimini Top
- Size - Different boats will need differently sized bimini tops to fit properly. EliteShield’s bimini tops are available in more than 20 different sizes across five different bow configurations. Smaller boats are a good fit for two bow or three bow bimini tops, while larger boats will find our collection of four bow and four bow extended options more to their liking. Like large umbrellas with multiple spokes, larger bimini tops have more bows for greater stability in breezy weather. That being said, however, you should never leave a bimini top up in truly windy conditions or while the boat is traveling at more than 45 mph to protect it from unnecessary damage.
- Material - The second thing to keep in mind while shopping for a new bimini top is material. While cotton based canvas tops are traditional, innovations in the materials and fiber community have led to the invention of UV blocking, fade resistant polyester canvas. All EliteShield bimini tops are made with our exclusive SolAquaShield material, a heavyweight, fade resistant, UV treated material that blocks direct sunlight from reaching the surface of your boat. Our bimini tops are also made with heavy duty plastic zippers, which don’t rust and corrode the same way metal ones do. They are also solution dyed, which means they're significantly less likely to bleed on upholstery or fade in the sunlight than other canvas types.
- Color - The third thing to keep in mind is color- and this is the most fun of them all. EliteShield has a wide range of colors, from classic neutrals to fun accents. There is no real right or wrong way to go when it comes to choosing a color, but it’s worth remembering that lighter colors reflect more sunlight away from the surface, so a white bimini top will keep the temperature lower than a black one will- but any color will produce enough shade for a relaxing time on your boat.
In the end, the best bimini top is the one which fits both your boat and your personal style. With nine colors and more than 20 sizes available, EliteShield is here to help you find your perfect bimini top just in time for the upcoming boating season.
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