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Types Of Boat Tops | Which One Is Best For You?

Choosing to add a boat top is one of the best ways of preserving your boat’s value and enjoying shade as you spend your day on the waters. Since there are various types of boat tops, knowing what differentiates each model is crucial, as this will come in handy when selecting the best option for your watercraft. In this article, we look at seven types of boat tops.

1.   T-Tops

t-top boat top

T-Tops provide full standing height for the boat operator and can provide helpful additional storage and extra protection for your center console.

T-tops are designed to provide overhead cover by fitting around a boat’s center console. These boat tops are getting quite popular among boat owners as they offer full standing-height shade while protecting your center console from harsh elements.

In addition to providing weather protection, top-quality models like Stryker T-Tops are built to improve the looks of your boat and make your fishing trips more exciting as they offer additional overhead storage.

You will also have the freedom to opt for a folding T-top, especially if you store your boat in a garage with a standard door or have to use low clearance bridges in your area.


2.   Bimini Tops

bimini top boat top

Bimini tops can be deployed when needed, are foldable and are primarily used for protection from the sun.

Bimini tops are free-standing open canvas structures supported by metal frames that sit over a boat’s cockpit.

Unlike T-tops that are designed to remain standing after installation, Bimini tops are foldable and only deployed when needed.

These boat tops are also primarily used to offer protection from the sun as they are not covered on the front or sides.

Bimini tops also come with storage solutions that can help hold wakeboards and inflatable tubes.


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To get the most out of your Bimini top:

  • Avoid leaving it out indefinitely
  • Fold it when not in use to improve its lifetime
  • Use a brush and hose to remove debris from your canvas to keep it looking at its best
  • When going at high speeds, don’t keep the bimini top deployed

3.   AFT Covers

aft boat curtain

AFT covers offer great protections from the elements and are a great way to stay warm and dry on the water.

AFT covers are enclosures attached to the back of a boat’s top extending to the aft, where they are secured.

These covers offer protection from the sun and other elements like wind, rain, and spray.

AFT covers can contain windows, side panels, and doors to allow visibility and user access while providing privacy in the aft deck area.

As such, they are a great way to stay warm and dry while enjoying the waters, which is an extra plus for boat owners who regularly take and teach kids about the outdoors.

4.   Convertible Tops

convertible boat top

Convertible tops differ from Bimini tops in that they can extend and cover the seating areas as well as the helm.

Convertible tops are designed to cover a boat’s entire open windshield area and are primarily used for protection in foul weather.

The main difference between these boat tops and Bimini tops is that they are attached to the windshield and can extend to cover the seating and helm areas.

Convertible boat tops are also commonly used on small powerboats and speedboats, and can easily be removed when they are not in use. They are easy to set up, remove and store.

You can make a convenient pathway to the bow with a walk-through zipper at the center of the window. You can also add front doors for more visibility and enclosures and curtains to enhance protection against the elements.

5.   Camper Tops

camper boat top

Camper tops cover the entire open areas of a boat and can be removed when needed.

Camper tops are enclosures attached to the back of a Bimini or convertible top to cover the back of a boat. It comes with its frame and helps enclose the entire open area of a boat, so everyone on board is protected against harsh elements.

Since it is not necessary to use camper tops at all times, these enclosures can easily be removed and set up to suit your needs.

A camper top converts your open boat into a cozy cabin on the water, protecting you and your passengers against rain and wind and offering shade during summer. T

To find a boat camper top that best suits your vessel, pick the depth or length, width, and height that sufficiently accommodates the boat and your needs.

The height and the depth/length help you establish how much shade a camper top will provide.

You should also look at the coverage area when the camper top is opened or deployed and where it will fall when closed and folded at the boat’s rear part. Ensure sufficient space behind and in front of the deployed top to set up eye straps for securing the hold-down straps.

6.   Storage Covers

storage cover boat top

Storage covers are just what they sound like… they protect your boat when it’s not in use.

Storage covers are meant to protect your boat when it is not in use.

Typically, storage covers work by protecting open and vulnerable areas of your vessel, and the most common options in the market are:

  • Cockpit covers, which are used to enclose the area from behind the windshield to the back of the boat
  • Tonneau covers, which are tight-fitting canvas tops mainly used on speed boats to protect the open bow areas. Some boaters leave these covers on even when they are out on the water and only remove them when they want to use the bow area
  • Bridge covers, which are commonly used on powerboats with a flybridge to cover the helm, instrument panel, and seating areas
  • Bow-to-stern covers, which are used to cover the entire extent of your boat from the bow to the stern


7.   Full Top Enclosure

full enclosure boat top

A full top enclosure boat top will provide weather, sun and water protection.

Full top enclosures are an all-in-one boat top that gives you the benefits of having a Bimini top, bow cover, windshield connector, and aft covers by providing a full enclosure of your boat.

Since it is made of multiple pieces, it offers the flexibility of choosing whether you want total protection against harsh elements or want a specific part open to suit your needs.

For example, you could decide to leave the aft covers or side windows open so that you can enjoy fishing or a little sunshine.

A full enclosure boat top provides weather protection, UV rays protection, and sea spray and water protection. Combining styles and colors can help you create an eye-catching boat top that sets you apart from others.

Final Thoughts On The Different Types Of Boat Tops

As a boat owner, one of the best accessories you can invest in is the right boat top. When considering your purchase, always consider the intended use and ensure you order a fully customized model that suits your boat’s size.

boat storage outdoors

Boat Storage Ideas | Tips For Any Weather 

Having a boat can be fun and exciting, especially if you think about the vast number of things you can do with it.

Your boat can be a place to host your social gatherings, an avenue to fun and recreational activities for everyone’s enjoyment, or simply serve as a place to relax after a hectic work weekday. 

When it comes to boat care, proper storage should be on top of your priority list. Even if you bring your boat for regular maintenance, if you don’t keep it in its best storage area, you’ll only be exposing it to harmful environmental factors. 

With the benefits that a boat provides for you, as well as the associated cost, it’s only practical if you can take good care of it, so that it’ll last for years.

To help you out, listed below are some boat storage ideas that’ll work well in any kind of weather: 

Outdoor Boat Storage 

When it comes to outdoor storage, you can certainly choose to store it in your yard or nearby open lot. 

However, to help protect your boat from the elements, you should enclose it properly using a boat cover or a durable RV & boat enclosure.

weather port boat storage

A durable boat storage enclosure can help keep your priced watercraft safe from the elements.

An RV and boat enclosure allows you to get the benefits of indoor storage without building a facility.

In addition, they’re also compact and easy to assemble, making the boat storing process a breeze.   

This will ensure that your investment will be safe from harsh weather conditions. 

Indoor Boat Storage 

Of course, if you’re looking for the best and safest way to store your boat in any weather conditions, indoor storage would be the best option.

This way, you can properly enclose your boat, keeping it away from any environmental factors affecting its quality and reliability.

indoor boat storage facility

Storing your boat indoors is optimal, especially for the winter months, however, cost cant be a hindrance, as well as lack of available storage, if renting space.

Finding available rental space for storing your boat indoors can sometimes be a challenge. High cost can also be a hindrance.

Indoor storage on your own property allows you to keep a close eye on your boat and have quick access to it so that you can further protect it when needed, especially during the winter months.

Yet, this might not be everyone’s first choice, especially since it could require a significant amount of space and could be a large expenditure if you have to build a building. And, of course, you may not have this amount of space on your property.  


Boat Storage Facility 

If you’d like to keep your boats indoors but don’t have enough space on your property, you might want to consider renting space at a boat storage facility.

Boat storage facilities allow you to have all the benefits of storing your boat indoors without having to worry about having enough space at your residence.

outdoor boat storage facility

A boat storage facility is a good option, but if there is not one near you, it may be inconvenient to travel just to check on your boat.

The potential downside to using a boat storage facility is that, depending on your location, it could be a long way from your home. So, if it’s a long way from where you live, having to drive long distances to check on your boat could be rather inconvenient.


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Boat Lift 

If you have your own pier to park your boat, you might want to consider storing your boat on a lift and free yourself from worrying about the storage of your boat elsewhere.

boat lift for storing boat

A boat lift will allow you to store your boat without having to remove it from its waterfront location.

While it might not seem like a bad idea to keep a boat in the water year ’round (it’s made to float in water, right?), it actually can cause slime buildup, staining and other expensive damage caused by the water.

A boat lift allows you to keep your boat where it is located, thus not having to worry about renting a boat storage facility.

But, if you decide to go with a boat lift, you’ll need to be sure you winterproof your boat, including making sure to drain any onboard water as well as ensuring that the proper antifreeze is present in the engine.

If you don’t have time to winterize your own boat, you may want to consider hiring a professional that can winterize the boat for you, saving yourself time time and energy and allowing you to store your boat more easily.  

Tips To Store Your Boat 

You don’t expect everything to be easy peasy when storing your boat. You need to be prepared to encounter plenty of challenges in keeping them safe and secure. Below are some tips to help you. 

  • Book A Full-Service Boat Haul 

Of course, a boat is generally heavy, and storing them can really be tricky. So, as you look to book a boat haul to put your boat out of the water, you might want to consider getting a full service to inspect and ensure that your boat receives any necessary maintenance and repairs, so that your boat will be prepared for winter weather.  

  • Winterize Your Boat 

If you’re storing your boat for the winter after using it for fun activities like fishing, it’s very important that you winterize it to prevent it from getting damaged.

Since winter often involves freezing temperatures, any water can freeze, causing cracks. 

Winterizing your boat means preparing your boat for winter by replacing the engine fuel, draining the water, and protecting internal components.

So, regardless of whether you are going to be storing your boat indoors our outdoors, you should winterproof your boat first!  


  • Remove Your Belongings 

No matter which storage option you choose for your boat, it’s important that you remove your loose items and keep them away from them.

fishing rods in a row

Be sure to remove all items from your boat before storing for the winter. Fishing rods, navigation equipment and personal items included.

While you might not be worried about someone stealing your belongings during the winter, leaving items in your boat could lead to musty smells and rot, which could cause damage to your boat.

Ideally, you should remove all your personal belongings, including life vests, fishing rods and tackle, and electronic navigation equipment (to ensure that the winter temperatures won’t damage its components). 

Final Thoughts On Boat Storage

Storing your boat can really be tricky, especially if winter is approaching. While the ideas above are suitable for any weather and season, looking for the best option for wintertime that fits your scenario and budget should be on top of your boat to-do list! 

Whichever option you choose, be sure you secure your boat well, winterize it and remove any belongings in the boat.

This will help keep your boat in its best condition for as long as possible, so you can continue to enjoy the water and meet like-minded boat lovers in the coming years.