Every time you go outdoors, people will remind you to bring sunscreen to protect your skin. The thing is, your eyes also need protection from those harmful UV rays! Getting the right pair of sunglasses to wear while boating will better your experience and keep your eyes from getting damaged. There are plenty of options for you to choose from, but here are things to consider while browsing:
Many people will be tempted to buy a pair of sunglasses that curve to fit your face and keep sun and other objects from getting in through the sides. However, keep in mind that curved lenses will distort light more than flatter lenses. The distortion may make it harder to see certain images clearly and can even lead to headaches or tired eyes, neither of which are helpful for boating! The more curved the lenses are, the more they will bend light and distort what you see. If you find a pair of sunglasses that are perfect and have curved lenses, just be sure they have distortion-free prismatics and you are in the clear! (This information can be found on the website or the label on the glasses.)
Overall, sunglasses with a darker tint are going to be better at blocking the most light. Since boating means being out in the sun all day, these are the lenses you want to get. The amount of light that passes through a lens is called visible light transmission. While boating, you want sunglasses that have a visible light transmission of about 15-30%. The different colors of lenses serve different purposes as well:
- Brown/amber: These work on both bright sunny days and cloudy, overcast days. They increase contrast and work well for general purpose.
- Gray: Neutral, all-purpose, reduce glare and no color distortion.
- Purple/Rose: Enhances color, great for bass fishing, inshore fishing, extreme sports, etc.
- Green: Can be worn for everyday use, also great for sight fishing.
- Yellow: Worst distortion of colors, but useful for snow. Reduces the blue part of the spectrum.
Costa Del Mar has a great simulation tool to help you see how each lens color affects your view!
TYPE OF LENSE MATERIAL
Glass lenses or plastic lenses? They are both useful in their own ways. Plastic lenses are both durable and light. Glass lenses are scratch resistant and they will give you more clarity than plastic lenses. Another option is polycarbonate lenses. These are very tough and lighter than glass. No matter the lens, make sure they block 100% of UV rays!
Finally, polarized lenses are possibly the most important aspect to look for in a good pair of boating sunglasses. Polarized lenses work to block only horizontal wavelengths. This is different from other sunglasses, which block all kinds of light. Polarized lenses allow the vertical wavelengths to pass through, which helps get rid of that nasty glare that comes off the water and is distracting to boaters. With polarized lenses that also block 100% of UV rays, you will have the clearest view as well as maximum protection for your eyes.
Do you have a specific pair of boating sunglasses you cannot live without? Comment and let us know!