Six Important Facts to Know About T-Tops
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  • Post last modified:April 16, 2021

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T-Tops for Your Boat

The staple product of the center console boats was the canvas-covered fixed frame for years. The Fiberglass Top was launched on a fixed frame by boat manufacturers in the mid-’90s, reducing the costly expense of canvas replacement.

You already hear about baking in the blazing sunlight, getting rained on, and having a lack of handholds and storage at the helm if you have a center console fishing boat without a T-top. You probably saw T-top-equipped ships nearby and wished you could duck your ship into the shade and out of the weather. And since you landed here on this website, chances are pretty good that you’re considering adding a T-top to your voyage.

You may be interested in my Ultimate Guide to T-Tops article.

Should You Get a Hard Top or Soft Top

Strong or soft tops are an important factor for your boat when choosing a T-top. It doesn’t matter if your initial boat purchase is followed by the top or you add it later, you will always have to decide which kind fits your needs best. And – one has obvious benefits.

Most boats have a hardtop, and only a handful of boats with soft tops are sold. Owners of boats don’t want a bolt-on solution. They want something from the get-go that is engineered. A T-top is not a piece of cloth that hides you from the sun anymore. An integrated hardtop is a structural component of the boat with molded-in accessories. When you sell it or trade it in, a quality T-top adds value to the boat, including a higher resale value.

Infused and vacuum-bagged for strength and rigidity, a standard hardtop is made of two cored-fiberglass outer shells. Internally, compressed urethane adds credibility in high-stress regions, such as bases for radar and outrigger mounts. Wire chases for different components and molded receptacles for spreader lamps, stereo speakers and electronics are integrated elements.

Popular T-Top Finishes

While many clients opt for a wide rectangular shape to optimize sun safety, it is easy to fit fishing-friendly setups. A true Key West T-shape canopy that enables vertical rod storage along the sides of the console is particularly common. Other options, such as secondary upper-station controls and a cushioned seat built into the sliding overhead hatch, are similar.

Another option between polished anodized or powder-coated includes the ending on the T-top pipework.

The more common option is anodized finishes since they are more durable and need less maintenance. It holds up well if you start with a protective spray added a few times a season and rinse the salt off and wash it with soap. Powder-coating is a beautiful finish and a custom look accents it. Yet it’s potentially more vulnerable to chipping and flaking, and it’s harder to return to the original finish after the harm is done. 10 are anodized for any powder-coated top that goes out of here.

The biggest difference between the two models remains the upfront expense. For a 32-foot yacht, a simple soft T-top would cost $7,300, versus $11,600 for a comparable hardtop.

The benefits of a hard T-top are apparent. Aesthetics are required by people who buy luxury vessels. They want a sleek look that is built to have an elegant, flowing profile. For a hardtop, the initial expenses are greater, but they are practical and add long-term value to your ships.

Soft T-tops, particularly on small to medium-sized center consoles, are an efficient alternative for many anglers.

Can I trailer  my boat if it has a T-Top?

Yeah. Yes. While upright or folded down, our tops can be trailered, assembled in an afternoon, and cost considerably less than getting a top designed specifically for your boat. You may also add a strap-on transparent canvas windshield or enclosure that is custom built and installed. We sincerely believe that our Folding T-top top provides a center console angler who has had enough of being completely exposed to the weather with the best option available.

What is the difference between a T-Top and a Bimini Top?

What about choosing one of those less costly folding Bimini tops that are easy to install instead? Anyone who has ever attempted to fish from underneath one of those things knows that casting a line or catching a fish with all the struts and straps in the way is almost impossible. A T-top is the only suitable option for any angler.

Can a T-Top Fit in My Garage?

Probably not. Many T-Tops have a height of 72 inches. That means adding a T-top to your boat but still putting it back in the garage.

You will possibly, however, squeeze under low bridges or overhangs that prohibit certain waterways from being explored by boats with standard T-tops.

What is the most popular material for a T-Top?

Our T-Top is backed by a heat-treated anodized 6063-T54 aircraft-grade aluminum framework that ensures full strength, resistance to corrosion, and a radiant finish. And 316-grade stainless steel hardware, not the more traditional but less corrosion-resistant 304-grade often used by businesses seeking to save a buck.


Is it Worth Adding a T-Top to Your New Boat

Although some might think a blog post is hardly worthy of such a basic boat buying topic, we will have to respectfully agree to disagree. We often talk with boat owners, the explanation for the resistance, who are stuck in indecision trying to decide whether they should or should not add a top to their boat. I think a T-Top increases the resale value of a boat.

Benefits of Having a T-Top

The explanations for a covered boat are plentiful, with the shade of the elements being perhaps the most advantageous. Not only does someone who has ever spent the whole day exposed to the sun know the importance of sunscreen and aloe, but they probably also see the error of their ways in not adding a top to their ships. Apart from the elements, a T-Top can also have extra overhead storage and several power outlets, including additional electronic power. Other fun benefits include an overhead map or lighting courtesy or even an optional mister device. A T-Top frame offers a great handrail when cruising and while moving around the vessel, another sometimes overlooked advantage.

Drawbacks of Having a T-Top

This adds weight regardless of what anyone might say in favor of the top. Your boat topper would on average raise the load of the vessel between 95-150 lbs, which equals an estimated loss of around 4 to 5 mph, regardless of its construction. In addition to the negatives, a T-top will affect fishing from time to time, as lines WILL eventually be hung up. One final drawback, adding a top, also contributes to the boat’s final expense.

Which is Better

As a general rule, shielding your boat or not just comes down to your use of it. You may be able to save a few bucks by leaving out a top if you’re running bays and inlets and don’t predict all-day outings. However, I highly suggest the addition of a T-Top if you are preparing to run offshore with small children or older passengers for prolonged periods.

You Need a Protective Covers

There is such a distinct look on any fishing boat with a T-top or a hardtop. If you purchased your boat with a T top or had the full T-top mounted aftermarket, with the extra comfort and shade offered for all passengers on this center console T top fishing boat, the boating experience is more relaxed and enjoyable. The T-top requires a protective boat cover, like all boats. But there is a problem with a T top design that arises-a rare, specialty boat cover requires the T top boat design. To protect the T top from dirt, debris, mold, mildew, and the sun’s intense UV rays on the marine vinyl seats and the T top itself, a full T top center console boat cover must be available to protect your investment and all of the fishing boat.

The measurements of the entire boat must match your boat cover, the T-top and the electronics box must fit, as well as outrigger mounts and rod holders. The center console boat covers must be resistant to water and mildew, as well as have the best UV protection to protect the marine vinyl seats and furniture from the severe damage caused by UV rays.

Most covers are made of marine-grade polyester resistant to UV and mildew that does not stretch or shrink and is intended to protect your boat from dust, debris, and sun damage. Look for a cover that offers a universal fit that is completely trailerable. Simple access is provided by features such as a dual-zippered entry on both the port and starboard side. For the bow pulpit and the anchor roller, the bow area of the boat’s cover should be doubly improved. Console core. Make sure that the cover with its VHF antennas, outrigger mounts, and rod holders suits the top electronics case. In years to come, a well-designed and correctly fitted cover will keep your investment looking ship shape.

John Allen

With more than a decade of experience cruising the lakes in my Crestliner Grand Cayman pontoon boat and my Boston Whaler, I now want to share everything I've learned with my community here at Boating Hub.

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