Are Polarized Sunglasses Better for Sailing?

As we embark on exhilarating sailing adventures, it’s crucial to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays, reduce glare, and ensure optimal visibility on the water. One question that often arises is whether polarized sunglasses are better suited for sailing. In this article, I’ll shed light on the benefits of polarized lenses, explore other factors to consider when choosing sailing sunglasses, and provide helpful suggestions backed by my personal experience as a devoted sailing enthusiast and advisor.

The Importance of Sunglasses for Sailing

Before we delve into the specifics of polarized sunglasses, let’s take a moment to appreciate the significance of wearing sunglasses while sailing. Whether you’re navigating a serene lake or conquering mighty ocean waves, your eyes are exposed to intense sunlight and the reflective glare of the water. Choosing the right pair of sunglasses ensures that you can fully enjoy your sailing experience while protecting your vision.

Polarized Sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses have gained popularity among sailors due to their ability to effectively combat glare. Glare occurs when light reflects off horizontal surfaces such as water, snow, or the deck of a boat, causing discomfort and reducing visibility. Polarized lenses are specifically designed to counteract this glare by filtering out horizontal light waves and allowing only vertical light to pass through. This unique feature helps to enhance visual clarity and reduce eye strain.


Benefits of Polarized Sunglasses

Now that we understand the fundamental principle behind polarized sunglasses, let’s explore the numerous benefits they offer for sailing:

  1. Glare Reduction: The primary advantage of polarized sunglasses is their ability to minimize glare. By effectively blocking horizontally polarized light, these lenses provide a clear view of the surroundings, allowing you to spot potential obstacles and hazards on the water with greater ease.
  2. Enhanced Visual Clarity: Polarized sunglasses improve visual clarity by reducing the scattering of light. They help to sharpen details, enhance color perception, and provide a more vivid view of your sailing environment.
  3. UV Protection: Just like any other high-quality sunglasses, polarized lenses offer protection against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Prolonged exposure to UV rays can lead to various eye conditions, including cataracts and macular degeneration. Opting for polarized sunglasses ensures that your eyes remain shielded from these detrimental effects.
  4. Reduced Eye Fatigue: Glare can cause significant eye fatigue and strain, especially during extended periods of sailing. Polarized sunglasses alleviate this issue by eliminating glare, enabling you to sail comfortably for longer durations without experiencing excessive eye strain.
  5. Improved Water Visibility: By reducing surface glare, polarized sunglasses allow you to see beneath the water’s surface more clearly. This can be particularly advantageous when navigating shallow waters or observing marine life, enhancing your overall sailing experience.

Other Factors to Consider

While polarized sunglasses offer remarkable advantages, it’s important to consider other factors when choosing the ideal pair for sailing. Here are a few additional aspects to keep in mind:

  1. Lens Shape and Color: opt for lenses with a wraparound shape to provide maximum coverage and minimize peripheral light. As for lens color, amber and gray tints are popular choices among sailors as they provide good color perception without distorting the natural colors of the surroundings.
  2. Durability and Lightweight Design: Sailing sunglasses should be constructed with durable materials that can withstand the marine environment, including exposure to saltwater and potential impacts. Look for lightweight designs to ensure comfort during extended periods on the water.
  3. Comfortable Fit: A proper fit is crucial for sunglasses to stay securely in place while sailing. Consider sunglasses with non-slip nose pads and adjustable features to achieve a comfortable and secure fit.
  4. Waterproof Capability: Given the nature of sailing, it’s advisable to choose sunglasses that are waterproof or water-resistant. This feature helps to protect your investment and ensures that the sunglasses remain functional even in wet conditions.
  5. Style and Personal Preference: While functionality is key, style also plays a role in the selection process. Find a pair of sunglasses that resonates with your personal taste and makes you feel confident during your sailing endeavors.

Top Sailing Sunglasses Recommendations

Based on extensive research and personal experience, I have curated a list of top sailing sunglasses that encompass a range of preferences and budgets. Here are some noteworthy recommendations:

Oakley Holbrook: Offering sharp vision, durability, and style, the Oakley Holbrook sunglasses are a popular choice among sailors.




Maui Jim Waterman: With premium features and exceptional eye protection, the Maui Jim Waterman sunglasses are a reliable option for avid sailors.


Gill Corona: Designed specifically for sailing, the Gill Corona sunglasses provide UV protection, glare reduction, and a comfortable fit.

Tribord 100: The Tribord 100 sunglasses offer affordability, UV protection, and a stylish design, making them an attractive choice for sailors on a budget.

Costa Del Mar Brine: Known for their polarized lenses, scratch resistance, and waterproof construction, the Costa Del Mar Brine sunglasses provide exceptional eye protection during sailing adventures.

Bolle Tetra Python: Offering a stylish wraparound design and polarization, the Bolle Tetra Python sunglasses are favored by sailors for their functionality and aesthetic appeal.

Remember, finding the perfect pair of sailing sunglasses involves considering your specific needs and preferences. Be sure to try them on and ensure they provide the desired fit, comfort, and functionality before making your final decision.


In conclusion, polarized sunglasses indeed offer numerous benefits for sailing enthusiasts. By effectively reducing glare, enhancing visual clarity, providing UV protection, and improving water visibility, polarized lenses play a vital role in ensuring optimal eye safety and an enjoyable sailing experience. However, it’s important to consider other factors such as lens shape, durability, fit, and personal preferences when selecting the ideal pair of sunglasses for your sailing adventures. So, grab your sunglasses, set sail, and embrace the beauty of the open waters while keeping your eyes protected and your vision clear!


Do polarized sunglasses work in all lighting conditions?

While polarized sunglasses are highly effective in reducing glare, they may not be suitable for certain situations, such as nighttime driving or skiing on icy slopes. It’s recommended to try them out in different lighting conditions to determine their effectiveness for your specific needs.

Are polarized sunglasses worth the investment?

Investing in a pair of high-quality polarized sunglasses can significantly enhance your sailing experience by reducing glare, protecting your eyes from UV rays, and improving visual clarity. They are especially beneficial for those who spend a considerable amount of time on the water.

Can I use regular sunglasses for sailing?

While regular sunglasses provide some level of UV protection, they may not effectively reduce glare on the water. Polarized sunglasses specifically designed for sailing offer superior glare reduction, making them a preferred choice for sailors.

How do I clean and maintain my sailing sunglasses?

To ensure the longevity of your sailing sunglasses, rinse them with fresh water after each use to remove salt and dirt. Use a microfiber cloth or a lens cleaning solution specifically designed for sunglasses to clean the lenses, avoiding abrasive materials that may scratch the surface.

Can I wear contact lenses with polarized sunglasses?

Yes, you can wear contact lenses with polarized sunglasses. They work together to provide optimal eye protection and clarity. However, ensure that the sunglasses fit comfortably over your contact lenses and do not cause any discomfort or vision obstruction.
Remember, the right pair of sunglasses can make a world of difference in your sailing experience. So, choose wisely, protect your eyes, and enjoy every moment out on the water!

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Michael Thompson

Embarking on a lifelong love affair with the sea, I found solace and exhilaration in the art of sailing. From navigating treacherous waters to harnessing the wind's untamed power, my passion has evolved into a mission to inspire others. Join me on a voyage of discovery as we explore the vast horizons of sailing's timeless allure.

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