Unlike a car that has a roof to protect it from the adverse effects of weather, a pontoon boat is directly exposed to forces of nature. This is where pontoon boat canopy enclosures become quite handy. They provide privacy, and protect from the hot sun and its UV rays. These enclosures even help when encountering rough weather such as a rolling thunderstorm when you are caught in the middle of a lake (I am talking to you everyone in the Midwest!). Canopy enclosures transform your boat into a floating lodge and are great for long trips.
Pontoon boat canopy enclosures can generally consist of just simply a bimini on top that provides protection from the sun all the way to a full enclosure that includes a roof for the length of your pontoon boat and full sides with windows that can truly turn your pontoon boat into a weatherproof vehicle. These full enclosures might be biminis that are extended by adding curtains that have zippers. The best full enclosures are made custom from good quality durable and weatherproof material such as acrylic fabric. Isinglass is commonly employed for plastic see through windows of the curtains. When I think of a “pontoon boat canopy enclosur” I think of the real deal, totally waterproof enclosure.
If you are in a rush here are a few of our favorite Pontoon Boat Canopy Enclosures:
|Image||Title||Why We Like||Rating|
|Naviskin Bimini Top Cover||Best Bimini Top||Check Price|
|Summerset 600 Pontoon Bimini Top||Best Bimini for Pontoons||Check Price|
|Northstar Double Bimini Top||Best Double Bimini||Check Price|
|VINGLI Bimini Top Boat Cover||Best Value Bimini||Check Price|
|Taylor Made Bow Enclosure||Best Bow Enclosure||Check Price|
|Oceansouth Bimini Extension Airflow Boat Shade||Best Bimini Extension||Check Price|
Full Canopy Enclosure
Full canopy enclosures cover the entire area of the boat from bow to stern and enclose the sides too. A full pontoon boat canopy enclosure is like having your own movable cottage on the sea. These offer comprehensive protection from the weather conditions both when sailing as well as when the boat is moored. It is almost double in size to half canopy enclosure. For someone who owns a large boat and sails with quite a few companions on board especially for long durations, the full canopy enclosure is ideal. These start around $3500.
Besides these, multiple manufacturers also have customized designs for pontoon boat canopy enclosures.
Pre-Installed vs Custom Fitted
The canopy enclosures might be added in the package when ordering a boat or they might be retrofitted. Pre-installed canopy enclosures are generally top notch as they are manufactured and installed by the boat company itself which ensures that the best material is used for the same and fitting and installation is of professional quality.
After market fitting of pontoon boat canopy enclosures is a bet that may go both ways. A well trained professional custom fitter, will make a fitting as close to the original while an unqualified installation job will not be as proficient and might even make a mess of the job. It is best to add a canopy enclosure while ordering a boat.
No one likes to see their prized possession covered up in dirt and grime. If left out in the open for long durations, the pontoon boats can get tarnished. These enclosures provide cover both on water and when the boats are moored, adding them to every boat owners must have list. Here are a few companies who specialize in making full pontoon boat canopy enclosures.
Pontoon Boat Canopy Enclosures Manufacturers
Now, I am going to have to play “hometown favorite” for a little here. For those of you who don’t know I reside just south of Denver in Colorado. Around these parts “Paul’s Custom Canvas” is synonymous with full pontoon boat canopy enclosures. Whenever a marine dealer is selling a boat with a full enclosure in Colorado it is made by Paul’s Custom Canvas 99% of the time. Nearly all they do is create custom canvas enclosures and man does it show! They make every single cover custom for your boat so you will definitely have to give them a call and explain exactly what you are looking for. Since everything is custom they can basically make the enclosure and the windows out of anything you want but they have certainly earned their spot as “experts” at what they do so if you order what they recommend you are nearly guaranteed to be satisfied with the end project. Now, I do understand that the word “custom” typically means expensive and a long lead time but sometimes when you need a one of a kind item that’s the route you have to go!
Dowco Marine Products prides itself in being an innovator in aftermarket pontoon boat products and accessories, and they are NOT lacking in the pontoon boat canopy enclosure department! The benefit of finding a pontoon boat canopy at Dowco (based out of Manitowoc, Wisconsin) is that they have pre-selected a large number of pontoon boat models that they can make a canopy for. If you browse through their website they have a HUGE selection available, so cross your fingers and type in your boat model and hopefully it will come up on their list. They are actually the OEM manufacturer for a number of boat brands including Tracker, Lowe, G3, Crestliner, Lund, Xpress, Veranda, Mirrocraft, Harris, Barletta, Landau, Alumacraft, Mirrocraft, Ranger, Triton, Nitro, Tahoe, SunTracker, Premier, Hurricane, and Silverwave so if you are looking for a cover for one of those brands chances are pretty good that you can find one from Dowco. They were previously purchased by Patrick Industries in 2018 but at this time it does not look like the acquisition effects their canvas division much.
Canvas Craft is another custom pontoon boat enclosure manufacturer who is based in Otsego, MN. They make a number of different products out of canvas so chances are if you can dream it they can make it! Making pontoon boat covers doesn’t look like it’s necessarily their “specialty” but they certainly appear to be able to make anything that you would want for your boat so feel free to give them a call and see what they can do!
Bimini tops basically come standard on any boat nowadays so if you have purchased a new boat in the last 5-10 years chances are you got one thrown in with your boat. If your boat did not come with one and you need a new one a bimini consists of a metal frame that has some sort of canvas covering its top and might be fixed or retractable. They are described as how many bows they have (3 bow or 4 bow typically), not to be confused with the bow (front) of the boat. Not confusing at all, right? Retractable biminis may be automatic with an electric motor to draw them back and forth. Standalone biminis provide shelter from overhead sun but don’t offer protection from the sides. Biminis are available in different lengths, widths, and heights. Here is a list of our favorite bimini pontoon boat canopy enclosures manufacturers are made to fit a number of boats and are readily available.
Top Ten Bimini Pontoon Boat Canopy Enclosure Manufacturers
The Naviskin Bimini Top Cover is a very popular bimini online. It is very versatile because it comes in a very many sizes and colors including 6 “3 bow” sizes, 7 “4 bow” sizes, and every size can come in 10 different colors including light grey, pacific blue, navy blue, beige, black, burgundy, white, dark gray, teal, and green. Reviewers like that the bimini top comes with all of the necessary structure including a 1″ aluminum frame and all of the hardware that you need to mount it to your boat. Then all you need is 2 beers and about 45 minutes and you should be able to install a nice new bimini top on your boat! Although the vast majority of people who purchased the Naviskin Bimini Top Cover gave it 5 stars there are a small percent of owners who commented that the bimini material felt a little thin, and others commented that the original hardware (screws, etc…) was a little loose so they have to replace some of it with hardware readily available from a hardware store.
Taylor Made has been mainstay in marine accessories for over 100 years. They make anything from pontoon seats to dock edges and even marine stereos. They also make a number of pontoon boat covers and pontoon boat canopy enclosures. Their bimini top is a high quality item and comes highly recommended. They also have a bimini top especially made for boats with wakeboard towers. Our only concern is that they don’t list a whole bunch of sizes online so make sure that the size is correct when you order a bimini top from Taylor Made. One fun fact that I wanted to throw out there: Taylor Made is not to be confused with Taylormade golf. They are completely different companies! I just learned that today while researching them!
Summerset offers their 600 Series Bimini Top that is SPECIFICALLY for pontoon boats. This makes us very happy because we all know that pontoon boats are a little wider and a little straighter than an open bow or fishing boat. So that means that you can purchase the Summerset with full confidence that it will fit great on your pontoon boat. *Disclaimer* – make sure you measure first, don’t take my word for it! Regardless this 4 bow pontoon bimini looks perfect for a pontoon boat because it is a nice long size of 8′ long and so it is made to cover nearly half of your boat (unless you are a lucky owner of a huge pontoon boat). This starts to approach a very nicely sized pontoon boat canopy enclosure. Guess what? If you add a second bimini top then you are sitting very pretty with a ton of shade on your boat and nearly fully covered.
Now this is what I am talking about! When I run into a pontoon boat owner they usually appreciate having a huge deck to lounge on (or party on for your youngsters) and I can’t think of a better way to hang out on a pontoon than with a big old double bimini top. Now don’t get me wrong, you can always buy two bimini tops and put them close to each other, but then you run into the issue of what to do around the crack between the two. Rain gets in, sun gets through, and some poor sap is stuck in the “crappy seat” that splits the two. That’s why I am excited to find the Northstar Double Bimini Top because they offer a legitimate, OEM quality double bimini top. Some bonuses to buying from Northstar include: their customer service is SUPER responsive, they answer every question asked of them very quickly, they make everything in the US, and they can actually help you figure out if their tops fit your boat. If they don’t, then they are willing and able to make any size you want to make sure it fits! Additionally, as I mentioned they use OEM quality canvas and framework so you can expect a legitimate double bimini top when the Northstar Double Bimini Top arrives at your door.
If you are looking for a high quality pontoon boat bimini top at an incredible price then you will find it with the VINGLI Bimini Top Boat Cover. They appear to be a pretty new brand (at least to the US) and I am 99% sure that they are based overseas somewhere but it appears that they have a fully stocked warehouse in the US and they make a wide range of products for either backyard pools or boats. Their bimini tops are super inexpensive compared to nearly all other tops, and the vast majority of people purchasing them expect a low quality product at this price point but are surprised at the high quality and ease of installation when the product arrives. There are not a lot of color or size options but if you find a VINGLI Bimini Top Boat Cover online that fits your boat and you like one of the standard colors they offer then you can buy it with a high confidence that you will be able to install it easily and it will be a great product. Some of the hardware they offer is vinyl instead of stainless but people have found the the hardware that usually breaks is all made of high quality material and that their biminis are lasting a long time.
MSC makes a nice Bimini Top as well. They have either a 3 bow or a 4 bow top available and they offer a whole range of colors including gray, tan, burgundy, navy, royal blue, forest green, and black. People who purchase the MSC top are generally pleased with the purchase especially considering that it’s relatively inexpensive compared to some of the other choices. A couple of tips from previous buyers is to replace the hardware that attaches the bimini to your boat with higher quality hardware because the screws that comes with the bimini are a pretty cheap plastic. Also, the canvas that is used is not an OEM quality heavy duty canvas, but if you don’t mind the couple of issues above people are generally happy with their purchase when they buy an MSC Bimini Top.
Savvycraft Biminis come highly rated from buyers. Similar to VINLGI, people make the purchase not knowing what to expect but are general very happy with quality of the bimini top when it shows up. There are many colors to choose from and you can pick either the 3 bow or 4 bow bimini depending on how big you are looking for. It doesn’t look like they have the most responsive customer service but when buyers did experience a damaged package replacement parts were sent right away. The fabric is not the “super thick” kind that people dream about and that comes with your boat out of the factory but buyers are generally pleased with the fabric and the structure.
The King Bird Bimini Top appears to be very similar to the last bimini tops that we reviewed. 1″ aluminum, decent canvas but not the thickest. I am starting to think that all of these bimini tops are coming out of the same factory overseas and that they are just slapping a different logo on them as they leave the factory! Oh well! It does seem like there are a couple of differences with Kind Bird Bimini Tops compared to the other reviewed tops. I do want to preface this by saying that the vast majority of buyers are happy with the product and would buy it again. It does appear that the person who wrote the instructions on how to assemble the top was overly tired, drinking too much, or didn’t actually know how to assemble the top themselves but attempted to write the instructions anyhow, so it has been advised to just throw away the instructions and look at the website picture to figure out assembly! Additionally, some buyers recommend replacing ALL hardware as this comes with the less durable plastic hardware. At that point you might as well buy some of the other biminis above that come with some of the upgraded hardware already but to each his own!
Stock Canopy Enclosures
An enclosure either half or full is an expansion of the bimini. Curtains of canvas are added to the bimini to extend it from top to the sides. These generally have zippers for entering and exiting the enclosures. A half pontoon boat canopy enclosure will require one bimini while a double enclosure will be installed with two biminis.
Half Canopy Enclosure
A boat with a half canopy enclosure will have some part of it covered. This generally is installed in the center of the boat but is a bit more towards the stern. These are best for small boats and people who are travelling in groups of few individuals. Custom half pontoon boat canopy enclosures of decent quality may start from $1500 – $2000 but if you can find a stock half canopy enclosure or a bimini extension then they are a lot less expensive. Here are a few that we like.
We previously featured a Taylor Made Bimini Top but where Taylor Made really shines in pontoon boat canopies is their “additional” products offerings that other manufacturers don’t offer. The first of those products is the Taylor Made Bow Enclosure. This enclosure is really made for those of us who want to use the pontoon boat to sleep in or camp in at night. It serves as a waterproof tent. Please note that you are NOT supposed to keep this enclosure up while you are in motion, it’s only supposed to be setup when you are anchored. The majority of buyers of the Taylor Made Bow Enclosure are happy with the product but some have suggested that the pole holders could do a little longer so they don’t slip out so easily, and the straps that strap the enclosure to the pontoon boat rails could be a little longer, but overall a great product!
If you already have a bimini and are still longing for more shade but don’t want to spend a lot of money then the Oceansouth Bimini Extension Airflow is for you. It is made specifically to attach to an existing bimini and extend the shade to the back with the help of a couple of additional poles in the back and four straps (2 in the front, 2 in the back). People who have purchased the Oceansouth Bimini Extension are impressed with the product overall and really like the durability of the fabric. A few critiques are that some users can’t get it super tight unless they modify the fabric but that is a little bit to be expected since this product is a universal product made to be installed on a number of different boat models.
If you are looking for a canopy for the front of your boat but you aren’t looking for a “tent-like” structure such as the Taylor Made Bow Enclosure then maybe another good option for you would be the Taylor Made T-Top Bow Shade. This is more like a bimini type structure (or is actually made to attach to a T-Top but I think would attach to a bimini too) and is more breathable, so you can sit under it but actually still feel the breeze or look outside (kind of why you bought a boat in the first place, right?). If you do want a lot more shade Taylor Made makes a very similar “Playpen Shade/Bow Area Shade” that is made to attach directly to the pontoon rail with no light shining through. People who have purchased the Taylor Made T-Top Bow Shade are really impressed with the value of the product and their only complaint is that it is advertised to fit on a 24′ boat but really should max out at a 21′ or less boat. Please keep in mind these are made more for center console boats with a t-top but I am guessing you can make it work with a pontoon!
The North East Harbor Boat Shade Extension is very similar to the Taylor Made extension – it is made to be install at the stern and attached to an existing bimini (or t-top). It gets excellent reviews and people are very impressed with the high quality of the fabric and extra two pole for a relatively low price. It is made to protect you from the sun and is very easy to setup and take down.
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