Off the shelf or custom boat shade/targa top

After a recent overnighter to rotto - and with the kids getting old enough to enjoy days on the boat (2 and 4 years old) - I'm looking at putting some shade on my 5mtr swiftcraft.


First thing I did was started to draw up some plans for a targa top sort of thing, to be made of stainless steel complete with rocket launcher, a basket on top to hold things and all the fruit. Haven't sought quotes yet but I cant imagine it I would get any change from $2k. 

Then during my research I came across this: Oceansouth Targa Top

So naturally I did more research...this was really the only thing I could find available "off the shelf" BUT it does fit the basic requirements (and would fit the boat without modification) for what seems to be a good price.


But $500 is still $500 ! So I wanted to check some other people's thoughts on purchasing something cheap (and potentially nasty?) like this compared to spending more for a custom job ?


Also, would a targa top like this put too much pressure on the fibreglass ? Even with the custom design I've drawing up I plan to use plates on the inside and outside of the fibreglass to distribute the load - but I do worry about how strong the old swift's fibreglass gunnel might be.


Interested to hear any thoughts for/against.

Thanks !

Posts: 744

Date Joined: 30/12/09

 Maybe make it out of Ali and

Mon, 2021-01-04 13:36

 Maybe make it out of Ali and powder coat to save costs and Being that the kids are young I would put the shade right to the transom that way they can move about all over the boat. Even have a support pole at the transom like a lot of the boats do up north. I still reckon you would be around the 2k mark by the time you put canvas on the frame work. 
the neighbour got a stainless canopy made for his boat and it is relatively small and that cost him $4k


 Get busy living, or get busy dying!

Francis's picture

Posts: 319

Date Joined: 17/06/08

 I did just get some rough

Mon, 2021-01-04 17:50

 I did just get some rough quotes and you are right. Ive been quoted up to 4k for ali and 6k for stainless. So if i do go custom fab it would be ali construction for sure. 

scubafish's picture

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Date Joined: 15/08/12


Mon, 2021-01-04 17:03

Was looking at same for my boat ,have a radio/Arial tower on mine and was looking for that ali track stuff that holds a rope sown into a piece of shad cloth .
Always looking to do diy and cheap, no lotto winner here .
Aim dumb ass just workout what its called .
Just found this guy


Francis's picture

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Date Joined: 17/06/08

That sounds like a good idea

Mon, 2021-01-04 17:48

That sounds like a good idea for fixing the shade cloth. My jayco camper has that sail track all around and it works really well and super easy to use. So no reason it wouldnt work well on a boat and look tidy 

Posts: 776

Date Joined: 25/05/12

 I was thinking a retractable

Mon, 2021-01-04 21:15

 I was thinking a retractable  canopy like ya got on4x4  wouldn't be too hard to modify it to work 

Posts: 169

Date Joined: 27/05/11

Nice idea. Has anyone seen

Sat, 2021-01-09 17:16

Nice idea. Has anyone seen this done before? Thinking it wouldn't be too hard to attach to existing cabin roof/rocket launchers and fix to 2 removable poles that go into 2 rear rod holders.

joel231's picture

Posts: 100

Date Joined: 18/09/12

 I got a t-top for mine

Wed, 2021-01-06 09:28

 I got a t-top for mine aftermarket. was just over $2k, installed it myself.



Red circles are where it folds down so i can fit it in my shed. Also remove it sometimes when its not required etc.


Cheers Joel

Francis's picture

Posts: 319

Date Joined: 17/06/08

 Thats nice - what brand is

Wed, 2021-01-06 10:52

 Thats nice - what brand is that ? Looks to be stainless, not ali - so $2k sounds like a good price !

joel231's picture

Posts: 100

Date Joined: 18/09/12

 Francis, Its a Fishmaster

Fri, 2021-01-08 07:10



Its a Fishmaster brand one, its also ali not stainless. 


Here is a link to it.


Cheers Joel

Posts: 15

Date Joined: 07/12/14

Dolphin T Tops

Wed, 2021-01-06 11:27

 Takes about 2 - 3  weeks from Sydney ,  they look good havent had it long enough or in bad conditions though to give you a decent opinion. 

About $1300 - $1500 mine was a bit more as I bought a few accessories. 

Posts: 15

Date Joined: 07/12/14

Dolphin T Top

Wed, 2021-01-06 11:30

Francis's picture

Posts: 319

Date Joined: 17/06/08

 That looks good, nice and

Wed, 2021-01-06 13:53

 That looks good, nice and solid (50mm tube vs 32mm of the oceansouth) and comes with some nice accessories. I'd be more confident with storing rods on that compared with the oceansouth. Looks like it's pretty customizable in terms of mounting as well.


Thanks for the suggestion, I'm seriously considering that model now. I'll have a play with the measuring tape.


Posts: 180

Date Joined: 31/12/11

Jesus bar

Fri, 2021-01-08 10:02

 One thing to consider when a canopy is being made that i noticed when going on a mates boat recently, we had quite rough conditions and his pipe work on the canopy was 40-50mm. When this is vertical holding on tightly for extended periods becomes awkward.

My own Jesus bars are 19mm and horizontal. Its OK for the skipper but the passengers have a tough time hanging on. Especially when salt spray is wetting everything as well.

And the bigger the better i found. I sleep up top on overnighters, plus swags up top out of the road. My boat is ali so the foundation is solid on my Westerberg. 

Francis's picture

Posts: 319

Date Joined: 17/06/08

 Interesting point,  never

Sat, 2021-01-09 20:29

 Interesting point,  never considered that the wider diameter would be harder to hold on to. Good point