How to Install a Bimini Top on a Jon Boat: A Step-by-Step Guide

If you own a jon boat, you’re likely familiar with the joy of spending sunny days out on the water, fishing or simply cruising. While these boats offer simplicity and versatility, they often lack shade, leaving you exposed to the scorching sun. Fortunately, installing a bimini top on your jon boat can provide the much-needed shelter and enhance your boating experience. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll walk you through the step-by-step process of installing a bimini top on your jon boat.

Why Install a Bimini Top?

Before we dive into the installation process, let’s briefly discuss why a bimini top is a valuable addition to your jon boat:

  1. Sun Protection: A bimini top offers shade, protecting you and your passengers from harmful UV rays. This reduces the risk of sunburn and heat-related discomfort during your boating adventures.
  2. Cool Comfort: Shade not only protects you from the sun but also keeps the boat’s interior cooler, creating a more comfortable environment on hot summer days.
  3. Extended Boating Seasons: With a bimini top in place, you can extend your boating season into the sunny months of spring and fall, when the weather might otherwise be too harsh.
  4. Versatility: Bimini tops are versatile and can be easily folded down or removed when not needed, allowing you to switch between shade and open-air boating quickly.

Now that you understand the benefits, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of installing a bimini top on your jon boat.

What You’ll Need

Before you start the installation process, gather all the necessary tools and materials to ensure a smooth and efficient experience. Here’s a list of items you’ll need:

  • Bimini Top Kit: Purchase a complete bimini top kit that includes the frame, canvas top, mounting hardware, and installation instructions.
  • Drill and Drill Bits: A drill will be necessary for creating holes in your boat for mounting hardware.
  • Screwdriver: You may need a screwdriver to secure screws and fittings.
  • Adjustable Wrench: An adjustable wrench will help you tighten bolts and nuts.
  • Measuring Tape: Precise measurements are crucial for ensuring the proper fit of your bimini top.
  • Pencil or Marker: Use a pencil or marker to mark the locations for holes and other measurements.
  • Socket Set: A socket set can be handy for tightening nuts and bolts securely.
  • Safety Gear: Always wear safety goggles and gloves when working with tools and drilling.

Now that you have all the necessary tools and materials, let’s proceed with the installation process.

Step-by-Step Guide to Installing a Bimini Top on Your Jon Boat

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

Before you start drilling holes or mounting anything, carefully select the location for your bimini top. Consider factors like the boat’s layout, where you’ll be seated, and the desired amount of shade. The most common mounting points are typically at the boat’s rear or near the center console. Make sure the location allows for enough headroom and doesn’t obstruct your vision while operating the boat.

Step 2: Assemble the Bimini Frame

Begin by assembling the bimini frame according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Lay out all the frame components and identify the different parts, such as the support poles, braces, and connectors. Ensure that you have all the required components and that they fit together correctly.

Follow the assembly instructions provided with the kit, and use the appropriate hardware (screws, nuts, and bolts) to secure the frame components together. Tighten all connections securely, but be cautious not to overtighten and damage the frame.

Step 3: Position the Frame on the Boat

With the frame fully assembled, position it on your jon boat at the previously chosen location. Have a helper hold the frame in place to make the installation process easier.

Step 4: Mark Hole Locations

Using your measuring tape, pencil, and the mounting brackets provided with the kit, mark the locations where you’ll need to drill holes for mounting the frame. Ensure that these holes are aligned properly to maintain the bimini top’s stability and balance.

Step 5: Drill Holes

Carefully drill holes in the marked locations using a drill bit appropriate for your boat’s material (typically fiberglass or aluminum). Make sure to wear safety goggles and gloves during this process. The size of the drill bit should match the size of the mounting hardware provided in your kit.

Step 6: Attach Mounting Brackets

Attach the mounting brackets to the drilled holes using the appropriate screws or bolts. Make sure to tighten them securely to ensure the frame’s stability. It’s essential to use the correct hardware and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for this step.

Step 7: Install Support Poles

Attach the support poles to the mounting brackets on your jon boat. These poles provide stability to the bimini frame. Ensure that they are securely fastened and adjusted to the desired height, providing enough clearance for comfortable movement under the bimini top.

Step 8: Attach Canvas Top

Lay out the canvas top over the assembled frame, ensuring it is centered and evenly distributed. The canvas top should have pre-installed straps or connectors that you’ll need to attach to the frame. These straps or connectors may include buckles, snaps, or Velcro fasteners, depending on your bimini top kit.

Secure the canvas top to the frame, making sure it is taut and wrinkle-free. Check that all the attachment points are fastened properly to prevent the canvas from coming loose during use.

Step 9: Adjust for Tension

Now that the canvas top is in place, adjust the tension to ensure that it is securely attached to the frame and doesn’t sag. Most bimini tops have straps or adjustable buckles that allow you to achieve the desired tension. Make sure the canvas top is not too tight or too loose; it should have a slight curve to allow rainwater to run off.

Step 10: Test the Bimini Top

Before hitting the water, give your newly installed bimini top a test run. Open and close it a few times to ensure that it operates smoothly. Check for any loose hardware or connections and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 11: Additional Considerations

Stowing the Bimini Top:

When not in use, you can fold down or stow the bimini top to make room for other activities on your boat. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to do this properly.


Regularly inspect your bimini top for signs of wear and tear. Clean the canvas top as recommended by the manufacturer to prevent mold and mildew buildup. Lubricate moving parts, such as hinges and support poles, to keep them functioning smoothly.


Installing a bimini top on your jon boat can significantly enhance your boating experience by providing shade and protection from the sun. While the installation process may seem daunting at first, following this step-by-step guide and the manufacturer’s instructions included with your kit will help ensure a successful installation.

Remember to take your time, make precise measurements, and use the right tools and hardware. With your bimini top securely in place, you can enjoy more comfortable and enjoyable days out on the water, no matter how bright the sun shines. Happy boating!