While everyone enjoys a fun day in the sun, no one loves getting sunburned. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 1 out of 3 individuals in the United States reports getting sunburned annually. Out of those people, 33,000 individuals are forced to visit emergency rooms due to a severe skin burn, and more than $8 billion is spent each year to treat 400,000 new skin cancer patients.
It is a crazy statistic considering all you need to prevent it from happening is a bit of sunscreen and some shade. It is such a simple thing to do, yet most people, including myself on occasion, fail to do so, and then we cry and cover our bodies in sourcream and aloe vera to get some relief.
And I can’t think of a worse place not to have a shade than a boat. There is absolutely nowhere to hide from the Sun. Your chance of not getting sunburn is exactly 0%, no matter how strong your sunscreen is. The only solution is to take cover under a bimini top or boat umbrella.
To help you decide which umbrella you should buy for your boat, I’ve tested a few on my pontoon boat. I’ve found that most umbrellas can be adjusted to fit any Sun’s angle and provide shade to any area of the boat. Some have heavy-duty securing mechanisms and multiple tie-down straps to prevent the umbrella from flying away. And some are versatile and can be used anywhere. But above all, they will protect you from sourcream and aloe vare, I promise.
So without further ado, let’s look at the best pontoon boat umbrellas you absolutely need to consider purchasing for the coming summer day.
Best Boat Umbrellas You Should Consider
- TOP PICK – Sport-Brella Versa-Brella SPF 50+ is an incredibly versatile umbrella you can use on and off the boat and can attach to almost anything.
- MOST PROTECTION – Taylor Made Products, AnchorShade III Sun Shades – best UV protection umbrella on the list, blocks up to 90% of harmful rays.
- EasyGoProducts AquaBrella – The Portable Bimini Boat Top Cover – similar to the Bimini top, offers the most protection.
- Magma Products Cockpit Umbrella – built for harshest wind conditions and will last you a long time.
- Easy-Up Gazebo Shade Top – Pontoon boat-specific shade top for extra protection when you need it.
Sport-Brella Versa-Brella SPF 50+
- UPF 50 plus PROTECTION The Versa-brella is a clamp-on shade canopy umbrella that offers UPF 50 plus protection to help keep skin safe from 99.5% of UVA and UVB rays
- RUGGED COVER AND DURABLE CONNECTOR The rugged canopy cover won’t rip or tear; a heavy-duty universal clamp connects to square and tubular surfaces and ensures a secure hold on golf bags, strollers, beach chairs, or even bleachers
- ADJUSTS TO ANY ANGLE: The 4-way, 360-degree swivel and 2 push button hinges allows the Versa-brella to be adjusted to any angle to block the sun
The Sport-Brella Versa-Brella SPF 50+ is my TOP PICK, and here is why. It is incredibly versatile, very portable, and built for performance. Thanks to the universal clamp, you can attach it to both the square and round surface. Attach it to your deck chairs, strollers, wheelchairs, boat railings, bleachers, and any other metal rod type you wish. You can take this umbrella anywhere you go.
It features a four-way 360° swivel that you can adjust to match the sun’s angle no matter which direction you are facing. That is super helpful and adds a level of adjustability that other umbrellas don’t offer.
One of the most important things about an umbrella is that it needs to stay upright even under heavy wind. Heavy-duty clamps will ensure it stays in place and doesn’t fall off or tip over, and a strong canopy ensures it won’t rip or tear under heavy use.
The spines of the umbrella are strong and fold into the included bag for easy storage. The spines will not break even if a moderate amount of weight is applied to them. That is important if you use this umbrella on a boat because the wind can often change direction quickly. Applying a large amount of force from different angles in a short amount of time can overwhelm regular umbrellas, but not Versa-Brella.
One thing to know about this umbrella is its shape. Make sure that you are not expecting a round umbrella because this thing is not round. People prefer rounded umbrellas for aesthetic reasons, but regardless of their polygon shape, these umbrellas will provide the same protection.
- Has universal clamp for every type of surface.
- Provides up to 10 sq feet of shade.
- Perfect for strollers, wheelchairs, boat railings, and bleacher seats.
- Four different angles and 360-degree adjustability.
- Protects from 99.5% of UVA and UVB rays.
- A little bit on the small side.
- Not specifically built for marine environments.
- Polygon shape.
Taylor Made AnchorShade III Sun Shades
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The Taylor Made Products, AnchorShade III, is an excellent marine-grade umbrella. It provides excellent sun protection and blocks out 90% of harmful UV rays. The attachments are pretty good and lock in place on most surfaces of your boat. Set it up wherever you need shade and adjust the angle using the straps.
This umbrella’s hardware is made from non-corrosive materials. This material can take a lot of abuse from saltwater, wind, and all-weather conditions.
The market-style tops allow some venting to occur without loss of sun protection. That means that the umbrella can dissipate the wind’s excess force that hits it without inverting or turning inside out.
This uniquely designed 6ft. X 6ft. the square-shaped umbrella can be used on almost any boat when anchored or at idle speed on a calm day. The umbrella itself is made with a very sturdy design. The spines are strong, and the canvas will not tear or rip very easily. It can take a lot of high wind conditions and strong Gail forces.
The one downside to this umbrella is that it can be a little bit of a pain to set up. The mechanism for securing it can be a bit complex. It’s tricky to get the ties in place, and if you have to deal with any of the smaller components breaking, such as a clip, then the setup process can become quite challenging.
Once you get the hang of it and learn how this umbrella works, the setup process will become much faster. It makes a perfect replacement for a Bimini top if you don’t have a Bimini.
- Specifically designed for marine environments.
- Ties down for secure positioning under high wind conditions.
- The sturdy design ensures the umbrella will not flip inside out.
- Sometimes hard to set up and take down.
- Portable – The portability of this umbrella makes it so easy to use. When boating sometimes we need shade and other times we don’t so with AquaBrella you can deploy the umbrella in just a few minutes. You can also use at the front of...
- Easy to Install – To set up the umbrella you just opens up like a normal umbrella. Place the rubber tipped bottom of the pole in the middle of your desired shade area and then attach the four straps attached to each corner of the umbrella to...
- Economical – Compared to most Bimini tops the AquaBrella is a bargain. Made form the same heavy duty UV materials as bimini tops but giving you the flexibility to use on one boat or multiple boats.
The EasyGoProducts AquaBrella is the perfect alternative to a Bimini Top. It is portable and can be deployed quickly and easily. In a matter of minutes, you can have your piece of shade under the Sun.
If you don’t feel like setting up your Bimini when you need a little bit of shade on your boat, this is the perfect alternative. With 6 by 6 ft of coverage, it will provide a lot of shade for many people.
This umbrella opens like a normal umbrella. Place the rubber-tipped bottom of the pole in the middle of your desired shade area. Then attach the four straps to the side of the boat. Secure the umbrella from there, and you’re good to go.
When you’re ready to take it down, unhook the straps attached to them from the railing. Hold the umbrella down, and then stuff it into the carrying bag that it comes with. It is light enough for most people to carry to and from the boat. It is also small enough to be stored in most boat compartments.
The pole has a rubber covering for both ends so that it won’t scratch your boat. Other umbrella poles have rough edges and sharp metal corners that could leave nicks and grooves in the side of your boat if you’re not careful. This umbrella is made to protect your boat from those kinds of little damages.
Of course, like most umbrellas, this umbrella is not supposed to be used while the boat is moving. It’s strange to have to say this, but sometimes people try to unfurl an umbrella while the boat is moving. This umbrella is only to be used when the boat is anchored in a shallow bay or marina.
- Easy to set up and provides a lot of shade.
- Perfect alternative for a full Bimini.
- Rubber stoppers prevent the pole from scratching your boat.
- Sometimes too large to store on the boat even when folded down.
- Customer service is sometimes not very good .
Magma Products Cockpit Umbrella
- Fade resistant acrylic nylon canopy with venting mesh windproof design
- Quick release all angle fully adjustable rail mount
- Corner tie down securing straps.
The Magma Products Cockpit Boat Umbrella is designed for the harshest marine environments. It’s made with noncorroding fade-resistant acrylic nylon materials. Thanks to this material, saltwater and Sun will not degrade this umbrella over time. It is also built to withstand the wind and not turn inside out under harsh wind conditions.
That square shape gives it the ability to be tied down and secured from all four corners of your boat. This gives it extra support in gusty wind conditions. The four corner supports can be quickly released and packed away or adjusted to match the desired shaded area.
This umbrella is designed for the cockpit area, but you can use it across any other part of the boat. The main shaft is made from flexible double cord fiberglass for extra strength. Other helm mount parts are made from stainless steel and anodized aluminum that will not rust while at sea.
The mounting system is an intense heavy-duty system for added strength and performance. You can pretty much set it up anywhere on your boat and be sure that it will not blow away.
You can use it on any boat, from a pontoon boat to a sailboat. Secure the four corner straps to available railings or attachment spots on your boat, and the umbrella will be able to take any wind that comes at it.
Sometimes these umbrellas do break if there are manufacturing mistakes, but this is a rare occurrence. If that happens, contact support, and they will send you a replacement quickly.
A lot of effort has been put into making sure that the provided tie-downs and tabs are made of hardcore materials. In the past, some of these pieces of equipment were made of cheaper plastic and broke quickly. Thankfully, that is not the case anymore.
- High-performance umbrella.
- Superior quality to other portable shade umbrellas.
- Hardcore heavy-duty attachments with four corner straps.
- Will stand up to heavy winds without deforming.
- Older models wore out and some plastic parts broke.
Easy-Up Gazebo Shade Top
- Comes complete with shade top, frame, marine-grade hardware and storage bag.
- Supported by shock-corded fiberglass pole framework.
- Comes complete with shade top, frame, hardware, and storage bag.
We will end this list of best boat umbrellas with another Taylor Made product, Gazebo Shade Top. This top is specifically built for pontoon boats, but I don’t see why you can’t use it on other boats with similar dimensions. But I have not tried doing that, full disclosure.
If your pontoon boat is between 96″ and 102″ wide, you should consider this umbrella, especially if you are looking to cover a large area. The top will extends out to 8′ of coverage and offers the most coverage on this list umbrella list.
The shock-corded fiberglass pole framework and marine-grade polyester fabric make this gazebo top very lightweight while not sacrificing the strength. It also makes it very easy to use. You will spend only a couple of minutes setting it up or taking it down once you are done with your day.
One thing to point out about this top is, although it is strong enough to use while driving at low speed, you really should not be using it while driving. It is large and will block your view. So take it down while driving and quickly put it up when you arrive at your destination and need shade.
- It covers a large area of the boat
- Very light due to fiberglass pole framework
- Available in 9 colors
- It comes with all the parts and a storage bag
- It blocks drivers’ vision and can’t be used while driving
Put an Umbrella on It
The last thing you want to have to deal with when you are out on the water is your boating umbrella breaking or flying away in the wind.
The umbrellas on this list will stay tightly secured and not deformed or turn inside out in even the strongest gale-force winds. They provide shade for either personal use or covering an entire small boat.
Just make sure that you got the right umbrella for your needs and pay attention to the shape and size to be disappointed when it arrives.
Not all umbrellas are built for marine environments, but that shouldn’t stop you from considering them. Ensure that the one you do buy has UV protection and enough attachments to keep it in place.