Types of Boat Tops

Your Guide to: Types of Boat Tops

Spending the day on open water can be one of the best ways to relax and recharge. However, there’s nothing relaxing about getting caught in inclement weather or baking in the sun’s harsh UV rays. Outfitting your boat with the right shade solution can make all the difference. In this post, we’ll go over the different types of boat tops, some common terminology and which one is right for your boat. Let’s dive in!

Boat Canvas, Canopies, Tops & Covers: What’s the Difference? 

Being unfamiliar with common boat top terms can be a frustrating barrier when deciding which type of boat top is best for your watercraft. Here are some keywords you might see used interchangeably when researching your options.

Canvas – This is a catch-all phrase for a wide variety of marine fabrics used in the production of boat covers, sunshades, tops and more.

Canopy – An all-encompassing term that refers to anything that covers a boat

Boat Top – Available in a wide variety of styles, this high -level term refers to the different styles of shade solutions that provide boaters respite from the elements while out on the water.

Boat Cover – A high level term for snug- fitting fabric that protects the boat while not in use.

Types of Boat Tops Explained

Types of Boat Tops: Pontoon Bimini Top Types of Boat Tops: Pontoon Bimini Top

Bimini Boat Tops

By far the most common type of boat top, bimini tops feature an open-air canvas canopy supported by sturdy metal frames that attach to the boat’s gunwales. Bimini tops are perfect for creating shade while retaining visibility and air circulation. Most biminis are relatively inexpensive and easy to install on pontoons, powerboats and sailboats. The best part? Bimini boat tops can be collapsed for sun, or shade, on demand.

Bimini Boat Top Accessories

Bimini boat tops are compatible with a range of accessories designed to enhance your day on the water. From speed tops to shade extensions, we’ve got you covered.

Types of Boat Tops: Convertible Boat Top Types of Boat Tops: Convertible Boat Top

Convertible Boat Tops

Convertible tops, in their most basic form, are designed to cover only the boat’s cockpit. However, many manufacturers supply additional curtain panels and enclosures for added protection. Attached to the boat by way of snaps on the windshield, convertible boat tops are less effective at providing shade and better suited for protection in unfavorable weather conditions.  One of the best parts about installing a convertible boat top is its ability to keep your boat warmer, thereby extending your boating season.

Types of Boat Tops: T-Top Boat TopTypes of Boat Tops: T-Top Boat Top


Perfect for anglers, a boat t-top is mounted to the deck of a center console style boat, providing shade to the helmsman while maintaining 360 degrees of unobstructed area for casting lines.

Available in canvas or hardtop, t-top boat tops maximize onboard storage since they can be outfitted with rod holders, speakers, navigation equipment and more.

T-Top Boat Shades & Accessories

If your boat already has a t-top installed and you’re finding yourself in need of more coverage, look no further. Our full line of shade accessories provides an added layer of protection and privacy to your boat. 

Fully automated shade is as easy as pushing a button with the PTX power shade. Available in four standard colors and widths, boaters can have the sun protection they need.

Types of Boat Tops: Full Boat EnclosuresTypes of Boat Tops: Full Boat Enclosures

Full Boat Enclosures

Sometimes referred to as boat curtains, full boat enclosures are used to protect you and your interior from the elements. Full boat enclosures are available in a wide variety of fabrics, styles and configurations and are generally custom fit to your boat’s make and model. Although pricey, investing in a full boat enclosure opens you up to exciting opportunities such as boat camping.