Top Five Sunglasses for Boaters

Editor’s Note: After a decade of testing, Lenny Rudow chooses his favorite eye protection for a day of fishing. Read the full post on the Boats Blog.

If you wanted to pick out the best five sunglasses for boaters, you would have to try dozens of pairs from companies including the likes of Costa Del Mar, Oakley, Ocean Waves, Onos, and WilyX—and then try dozens of pairs from a long list of different manufacturers. It would take a lot of time, money, and effort.

These sunglasses, from Costa del Mar, Oakley, Ocean Waves, Onos, and WilyX, make the top 5 list.
These sunglasses, from Costa del Mar, Oakley, Ocean Waves, Onos, and WilyX, make the top 5 list.

Unless, that is, you’re a boating writer. In my case, sunglasses like these appear in the mailbox on a regular basis for testing and reviewing. And in the past decade I’ve tested over 30 different pairs intended for use on the water. Here are my top five picks.

1. Costa Del Mar Jose – These get a spot in the top five despite a painfully high $259 price tag, because the optics are just plain awesome. Put on a pair, and the world seems just a little more lifelike than it does to the naked eye. They’re available with either glass or plastic lenses; the plastic is lighter but more prone to damage, and to my eyeballs, the glass provides a better view in the first place.

2. Oakley Wind Jacket – The Wind Jacket model includes a snap-in gasket that turns the glasses into mini-goggles. This makes them ideal for boaters who cruise at fast speeds, since the wind can’t creep around behind them and sweep the glasses off your face. Meanwhile, they have a hydrophobic coating that prevents water streaks, Plutonite lenses with good optics, and include lenses for both bright and low light conditions. Cost is $220. Oh yes—and they look uber-cool, too.

3. Ocean Waves Boston – If I had to pick an all-time favorite, this would be it—after returning my test pair I liked them so much, I went out and bought my own. The optics are stunning, especially the blue lenses in offshore waters, and the price is reasonable. These glasses remained my favorite through 10 years of salty use and though the frames needed replacement (which Ocean Waves did under warranty) the lenses never gave out. Unfortunately, Ocean Waves stopped producing the Boston model last year—bummer—but the ($159) Kauai and ($139) Madrid are close.

Read the rest of The Best Five Sunglasses for Boaters