How to Make a Boat Canopy

  • 4-10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 65-200
What You'll Need
Measuring tape
1-1/2 inch PVC white pipe
2-inch PVC white pipe, cut into sections 1 inch high
4 PVC pipe T- fittings 1-1/2 inch diameter
4 PVC pipe 90-degree elbows, 1-1/2 inch diameter
Power drill with 1/2 inch bit
Fine tooth saw to cut plastic pipe
Oil marker
PVC pipe adhesive
PVC pipe cleaner
2-part liquid epoxy glue
#3 density waterproof canvas, light color or white
Heavy duty fabric shears
Industrial sewing machine
20 denier heavy thread
Carpenter's square
Slot head screwdriver
4 slot head screws
2 meter roll of hook and loop tape, white

A boat canopy provides shade for passengers and the skipper, and also protects from sudden rain. Make and install a boat canopy following the directions below.

Step 1: Measure the Area To Cover

You may want to cover the entire open passenger compartment or just the skipper's and front passenger chair. Measure the area to cover and add 12 inches to each dimension of your canvas top to form a lip that will pass over the pipe framework.

Step 2: Purchase Materials and Cut to Size

Have the pipe cut to length, or trim it yourself carefully with the pipe cutting saw. You will need 6 short pieces and 2 long pieces to make a box frame.

Step 3: Assemble the Box Frame

At the 4 top corners of the frame attach the following: 1 short length of PVC pipe into the bottom of the T-fitting. A 3-inch pipe section goes into the t-fitting where the first horizontal piece will be attached. Fasten the 90-degree elbow to the 3-inch long pipe section. To the other arm of the T-fitting, attach a long side pipe section. To the open end of the elbow, fasten a short horizontal pipe section. You should end up with a long narrow rectangle, with a vertical post hanging from it at each corner.

Step 4: Prepare Posts for Fastening to the Deck

Cut 4 mounting brackets from the 2-inch PVC pipe. They should be 1 inch high each. Drill a hole 1/2 inch in diameter into the brackets, 1/4 inch up from the bottom. Place the assembled canopy frame on the deck to mark where the posts are to be fastened. Draw circles around the frame posts with a marker. Remove the canopy frame and prepare to attach the canvas top.

Step 5: Cut and Attach the Canvas to the Frame

Lay the canvas out on a flat surface and measure 6-inch by 6-inch squares at each corner with a carpenter's square. Cut the squares out with the shears. Turn down and sew a 1/4 inch hem all around the canvas on an industrial sewing machine. Fasten the hook and loop tape to the canvas with a hook piece on both the inside and outside, matched to a loop side. When you fold the canvas corners around the post, the hook and loop tapes will close, securing it in light winds.

Step 6: Fasten the Frame to the Deck

Attach the mounting brackets to the deck with 2-part epoxy. Allow the epoxy to cure thoroughly, for about 48 hours. Insert the posts and fasten them to the mounting brackets with epoxy and screws.