If you're not sure what sailing binoculars to get, the team at Mylor Chandlery has scoped out the most important features that you need to consider before making a purchase.
Make Sure They're Waterproof
It goes without saying, but make sure your binoculars can handle the days, months and years they're going to spend on the water without failing or breaking due to water damage. You can also go one step further and purchase binos that float on water, like the Talamex 7x50 Waterproof & Floating Binoculars, or opt for something that's water pressure proof. The Steiner Navigator Pro resists water pressure down to 5 metres and comes with special sealing technology that ensures that nothing, from water to dust and dirt or even humidity, can penetrate any part of your binoculars.
Check The Magnification
The most common marine binocular size is 7x50 magnification. This means that you experience a 7x magnified image and the objective lenses (the lenses pointing at the object) are 50mm in diameter. When new buyers go out in search of their first pair of marine binoculars, they often look for the greatest magnification, as enhanced magnification on the water would seem like the greatest asset. However, as the magnification increases, so does the wobbly blurriness of the image, particularly when you're out at sea on a swaying boat.
We would suggest sticking with 7x50 where possible and, if you are looking for greater magnification, seek out binoculars that have an image stabilising gyroscope or in-built electronics that help hold the image more steadily on the water.
If you're tired of chasing focus on moving objects, The Steiner Commander 7 x 50 Binoculars With Compass comes with a Sports-Auto Focus System that lets you focus each eyepiece to your vision once, then keeps images razor sharp from 20 yards to infinity.
Are They Nitrogen Filled?
Mylor's Steiner Navigator Pro binoculars benefit from a nitrogen-filled pressure system, preventing fogging up or similar condensation issues inside the binoculars. Whether temperatures vary between -20 °C and +60 °C, these marine binoculars, or those with a similar nitrogen-filled design, will still function perfectly during your next sail.
Scrutinise The Design
The best marine binoculars need to have a fuss-free and fairly self-contained construction with no external wires or unnecessary design elements that will fray, snap off or wear out. Make sure you always look for indicators of bad or impractical design work as great sailing binoculars will be sturdy, chunky and designed to really withstand all the rigorous use of boating life.
You may also want to look at additional design features such as specially coated optics that brighten the image and reduce glare or nano-protection lenses that prevent water marks from forming and repel dust, dirt and fingerprints.
Compasses & Range Finders
If you're on a smaller vessel or light rowing boat with no chart plotter, a compass or similar device integrated into your marine binos could be invaluable. At Mylor, we stock binoculars with illuminated 360° compasses, unique compass dials and range finders that allow you to read object bearings clearly in view, helping you work out where you are, what you're looking at and where you're going.
Check out the Konus Tornado Floating Compass Binoculars or the Talamex 7x50 Waterproof & Floating Binoculars With Compass if you're in need of some great additional navigation features.
Light & Practical In Weight
One crucial specification of any marine binoculars you're looking to buy is a lightweight design. When you're out sailing or fishing, you may spend extended periods of time holding your binoculars up to your face, which is going to cause your arms to ache surprisingly quickly. When you're shopping around, take this into consideration and think about purchasing something like the Konus Sporty Focus Free Binoculars, weighing just 770 grams, which is perfect for frequent and prolonged use.