Woman wearing sailing sunglasses

How to pick the best sailing sunglasses for you

Finding the right sailing sunglasses to wear on the water can be a struggle. From sunglasses that fall off mid tack to bad lenses that block you from seeing the sails through the glare from the water, there can be many problems stopping you from finding the right sailing sunglasses for you. That’s why we’ve put together this guide so whether you’re cruising on a yacht this summer, or racing a dinghy, you’ll know just what to look for when choosing the right sunglasses for the occasion.

What to consider when buying sailing sunglasses

There are a few factors you need to consider when buying sunglasses for sailing. There are a lot of technical upgrades you can make to your sailing sunglasses, which is why you may decide it’s worth paying a little more to ensure clear vision and eye protection when you are out sailing. Here are the main features that are important to consider:


UV Protection

UV radiation can cause a lot of damage to our eyes and skin. That is why it is always important to look for the CE mark on European sunglasses which show that they meet the required standards to blocking out UV radiation. Sailing sunglasses also tend to have a larger lens to protect not just the eyes but the skin around it, and wrap around styles cut down more bright light from getting in at your periphery. Sunglasses with a protection of UV 400 block an even wider spectrum than the CE and British standard models and can filter out up to 99% of UVA and UVB rays making them the ultimate protection for your eyes.

When buying sunglasses, you may notice that they come in a range of different categories. The category of a pair of sunglasses simply refers to how dark (or dense) the lenses are. Most sailing sunglasses have filter category 3 which allows 8-18% light transmission which is useful in bright sunlight.

Polarized Lenses

Polarized lenses are a really important feature to have for sailing sunglasses. This is because when you’re out on the water there can be much more glare than there is on land because of the extra glare reflecting off the water and the white sails, even on overcast days. A polarized lens blocks out certain polarized light waves, so objects retain their definition and visual detail, and glare is reduced.

Hydrophobic and Oleophobic Coating

Hydrophobic outer coating can be particularly useful for protecting the lenses of sailing sunglasses as it is designed to shed water and reduce salt residue. So, when you get splashed by a wave, the water and salt will repel off your lenses, and you’ll be able to carry on sailing with a clear sight. Oleophobic coating applied to the inside of the lens repels fingerprints, sun lotion and skin oils.

Scratch Resistant Lenses

Sailing sunglasses go through a lot. Let’s be real, when you take off your shades you may not have a case to hand to put them in straight away and so they are likely to be scratched over time. However, lots of sailing sunglasses come with scratch resistance lenses so you don’t have to worry about being extra careful when taking them off.

Anti-Fog treatment

There is really nothing worse than glasses fogging up when you’re out sailing and just about to start a race. As well as being annoying, it could even be dangerous! Sailing sunglasses with high-tech lenses can reduce fog.

Floating Frames

Just dropped a new pair of shades in the water? With floating frames, you’ll be able to pick them right back out again.

Ensure a Secure Fit

We stock a range of men’s, women’s and kid’s sizes so you can make sure you get the right fit for you. Keep your sunglasses securely in place with a comfortable retainer.

Keep Safe in a Case

When buying sailing sunglasses, you may want to opt for a durable hard case, like Gill’s travel case, that will protect your frames from damage and also includes a soft liner that will protect your lenses.


Best Sailing Sunglasses

Now you know what is best to look for in sailing sunglasses, here are a few of our favourite pairs:

Gill Race Ocean Sunglasses

These top range Race Ocean Sunglasses are packed with all the features you’d expect from Gill: polarised, anti-glare, anti-scratch, hydrophobic and oleophobic lenses with full UV protection. The addition of an integrated retainer and vents prevent the lenses steaming up when the pressure is on. As with many of Gill’s sailing sunglasses, their innovative design means they will float if dropped in water.

Gill Glare Floating Sunglasses

With their fully polarised and scratch resistant lens, and on-trend design, the Gill glare floating sunglasses are a top contender for the best sunglasses for sailing. Featuring a hydrophobic coating on the lenses which repels everything from water to sun lotion, these glasses will ensure you have a clear vision whilst sailing. These sunglasses feature a cleaver construction which allows them to float making these a great mid-range pair of shades.

Gill Corona Sunglasses

The Gill Corona sunglasses offer total UV protection and have polarized lenses to stop you squinting in bright conditions. Like other Gill sunglasses, these lenses are scratch resistant and have a hydrophobic coating and oleophobic technology to repel water, salt, sun lotion and even fingerprints. These are the perfect entry level sunglasses if you are looking for good features at a low price.

Jobe Dim Floatable Glasses

Last but certainly not least, these Jobe Floatable Sunglasses have a polarized and UV-400 integrated lens to protect your eyes and reduce glare. The comfortable frame has a non-slip nose holder to keep your glasses in place whilst you’re sailing.


Didn’t find what you were looking for? Check out our other sunglasses.


Written by Lucy Harris.

Updated on 7th June 2021

Originally published on 7th May 2021 in Sailing

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