Navigating the Waters with Clarity: A Guide to Choosing the Best Sailing Sunglasses

sailing sunglasses

Embarking on a nautical adventure is incomplete without a pair of functional sailing sunglasses. They are paramount not just as a style statement but more so for providing clear, unobstructed vision while cruising the azure waters. In this guide, we will unravel the enigma of choosing the ideal pair of sunglasses for sailing, answering common concerns like whether sailing sunglasses should be polarized and how one can keep them on securely.

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Why is it Essential to Have Sunglasses for Sailing?

The first question that often arises is, do you really need sunglasses for sailing? The answer is an emphatic yes. The ocean reflects sunlight, causing intense glare, which can lead to strain, discomfort, and, over time, can damage the eyes. Sailing sunglasses safeguard the eyes against harmful ultraviolet rays, wind, and salt, ensuring enhanced visibility and protection.

Attributes of Ideal Sailing Sunglasses

So, what sunglasses are best for sailing? Ideal sailing sunglasses merge functionality with comfort. Here are a few attributes to look for:

  1. Polarization: The debate over whether sailing sunglasses should be polarized is crucial. Polarized lenses filter out the horizontal light waves bouncing off the water surface, mitigating glare and allowing for clearer vision.
  2. UV Protection: UV rays are detrimental to the eyes. Sunglasses offering 100% UVA and UVB protection are pivotal for safeguarding ocular health.
  3. Lens Material: Polycarbonate lenses are preferable due to their impact-resistant nature, ensuring durability amidst adventurous sailing encounters.
  4. Frame Design: A wraparound style prevents light from entering from the sides, while a snug fit ensures the sunglasses stay put even during turbulent voyages.

Navigating through Polarization

Should sailing sunglasses be polarized? Polarized lenses are integral in reducing glare from reflective surfaces, making them a preferred choice for many sailors. They enhance visual acuity, delineate underwater obstructions, and help in better perception of the horizon. However, it’s important to note that polarization might interfere with reading digital screens on board, so choosing sunglasses with a balanced polarization level is recommended.

Preserving Your Vision with UV Protection

The emphasis on sunglasses offering optimum UV protection cannot be overstated. Extended exposure to UV rays can result in conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Therefore, sunglasses with complete UV blockage are non-negotiable for sailors, ensuring that the dazzling beauty of the sea can be enjoyed without compromising on eye health.

Lens Material and Color Considerations

When pondering what sunglasses are best for sailing, the lens material emerges as a critical factor. Polycarbonate lenses, known for their lightweight and shatterproof properties, are optimal. They resist impact, providing security during high-action sailing. The color of the lenses also plays a pivotal role in visual clarity. Gray lenses maintain color integrity, while brown and amber hues improve contrast, beneficial in variable light conditions.

Firm Fit and Wraparound Style

How do you keep sunglasses on when sailing? A snug fit is crucial to prevent them from being knocked off or slipping. Sunglasses with adjustable nose pads and temple grips offer a customized fit, ensuring stability. Wraparound frames offer extensive coverage, diminishing peripheral light intrusion and protecting the eyes from wind and debris, thus, providing a combination of comfort and unwavering protection.

Top Picks for Sailing Sunglasses

  1. Oakley Split Shot: These polarized sunglasses are renowned for their Prizm lens technology, offering enhanced color contrast and visibility. The wraparound style and detachable leash make them a favorite among sailors.
  2. Costa Del Mar Tuna Alley: With 100% UV protection and polarization, these sunglasses are a testament to durability and comfort, offering impeccable clarity and water-repellent coating.
  3. Maui Jim Peahi: These sunglasses blend style with functionality, providing polarized lenses with color-boosting technology, ensuring crisp vision and superior contrast.


Sailing sunglasses are indispensable for anyone looking to traverse the open seas. Whether you are wondering about the necessity of sunglasses for sailing or contemplating whether they should be polarized, remember, the primary goal is to achieve a fusion of protection, comfort, and clear vision. Polarized lenses with UV protection, crafted with robust materials, and designed to stay secure, are your allies in witnessing the majestic allure of the seas unhampered. So, set sail with your ideal pair and let the winds guide you to unseen horizons.

While this article provides a comprehensive guide to choosing the right sailing sunglasses, it is always recommended to try various options and assess individual comfort and preferences before making the final choice. After all, exploring the vastness of the oceans should be an experience filled with awe, not discomfort. So, choose wisely and let your sailing sunglasses be the beacon leading you through your nautical adventures.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sailing Sunglasses:

Q1: Why do I need sunglasses for sailing?

A: Sunglasses are essential for sailing to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, intense glare, wind, and salt. They enhance visibility and comfort, reducing the risk of eye strain and long-term damage.

Q2: What are the best sunglasses for sailing?

A: The best sunglasses for sailing offer 100% UVA and UVB protection, have polarized lenses to reduce glare, and are made with impact-resistant materials like polycarbonate. Top picks include Oakley Split Shot, Costa Del Mar Tuna Alley, and Maui Jim Peahi.

Q3: Should sailing sunglasses be polarized?

A: Yes, polarized sunglasses are recommended for sailing as they significantly reduce glare from reflective surfaces like water, improving visibility and reducing eye strain. However, ensure the polarization level doesn’t interfere with viewing digital screens on your vessel.

Q4: How do I ensure my sunglasses stay put while sailing?

A: Choose sunglasses with a snug and comfortable fit, featuring adjustable nose pads and temple grips. A wraparound style also helps in keeping the sunglasses secure. Some sunglasses come with detachable leashes to ensure they stay in place during active sailing.

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