Relaxing on the Water: How to Choose the Best Sunglasses for Water Activities
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Relaxing on the Water: How to Choose the Best Sunglasses for Water Activities

Whether boating in cool blue waves or casting a line on a shimmering lake, water activities open up a world of adventure. But the glint of sunlight on the water can be blinding without the right pair of shades. Finding sunglasses that can withstand the rigors of activities on the water is key. The ideal sunglasses will protect eyes from harmful UV rays and bright light, reduce uncomfortable glare, and stay dry.

In this article, you’ll discover what features to look for when selecting sunglasses best suited for activities like boating, fishing, stand-up paddle boarding (SUP boarding), and paddleboarding. You’ll get great examples of four top sunglasses models built for comfort, durability, and style.

With this inside knowledge, you can find a pair of the best sunglasses for water-based activities — ones that will allow clear, safe vision on your next aquatic adventure. Equipped with the right shades, your eyes will be primed to fully experience the beauty and exhilaration the water has to offer.


Why Should Water Activity Enthusiasts Prioritize Sunglasses?

For water sport enthusiasts, wearing watersport sunglasses should be a top priority for several compelling reasons:

  • Protection from UV Radiation: The reflective surface of the water exposes your eyes to high levels of UV radiation and intense glare. Without sunglasses, this exposure can lead to long-term damage like cataracts, degenerative maculopathy, and photokeratitis (sunburn of the eyes). Quality sunglasses shield your eyes from harmful UV light and reduce blinding reflections.
  • Protection from Sun Glare: The sun’s reflection off the water and other shiny surfaces can be very bright and cause glare. Sunglasses help reduce blinding glare and allow you to see more clearly. This is important for being able to spot objects/other people in the water. Plus, sunglasses enhance your overall vision by easing eye strain, headaches, and discomfort during water activities.
  • Protect Eyes from Wind and Debris: When you’re moving fast on or in the water, whether boating, SUP boarding, or just resting on the beach, the wind and air can dry out and irritate your eyes. Sunglasses create a barrier to protect the eyes and make your peripheral vision clearer. They also prevent bugs and water splashes from getting into your eyes.
  • Enhanced Performance: Sunglasses can significantly enhance performance as they optimize visibility by providing great contrast, and amplifying color perception. This means that water activities enthusiasts can more clearly spot obstacles and maintain better awareness of their surroundings, leading to safer and more enjoyable experiences on the water.

Prioritizing sunglasses for outdoor activities isn’t just a matter of eye safety but also a means to elevate your performance and enjoyment, ultimately ensuring a more rewarding and comfortable experience.

6 Things to Consider When Selecting Sunglasses for Water Activities

When selecting a perfect pair of sunglasses for activities on the water, there are important factors to consider:

#1: Prioritizing UV Safety

When selecting the best sunglasses on the water, UV safety should be your top priority. Look for sunglasses that block 100% of harmful UVA and ultraviolet radiation to protect your eyes from damage. UV exposure can increase risks of cataracts, macular degeneration, and growths in the eye. Polarized lenses further filter UV rays, so they offer optimal protection. Verify the sunglasses have sufficient UV protection by checking for labels from trusted organizations.

#2: Opting for a Polarized Lens

Intense glare off the water can strain eyes and cause headaches. Polarized lenses are perfect for reducing glare by blocking blinding horizontal light reflecting off water. This allows clearer vision on the water and reduces eye fatigue. Consider polarized sunglasses with glare-cutting features like mirrored lenses that darken in sunlight for versatility.

#3: Selecting the Right Frame

When choosing sunglasses for active recreation on the beach, select frames made from the lightest material like acetate which provide high frame quality and are well suited even for everyday use. Prioritize sunglasses with a secure, comfortable fit, quality frames suited for regular use, and water-friendly features to enhance vision and enjoyment on the beach.

#4: Guarding Against Water Exposure

Since water activities leave you susceptible to splashing, spray, and waves, a waterproof pair of sunglasses that repels water is a necessity. Make sure that the sunglass lenses are impact and scratch-resistant to withstand bumps from big waves and debris.

#5: Choosing the Optimal Lens Hue

Sunglass lens colors play a role in enhancing vision for specific environments. Lenses with blue light filtering properties utilize advanced lens technology to enhance vision in low-light conditions. Green lenses also help cut glare and improve contrast, especially for water activities on overcast days. For bright days, gray and amber lens colors and polarized lenses work well.

#6: Longevity and Resilience

Make sure your sunglasses can withstand rugged aquatic conditions.Opt for scratch-resistant and impact-resistant lenses with anti-reflective and hydrophobic coatings. Sturdy materials like nylon, acetate, and stainless steel extend the frames’ durability. Make sure to look for sunglasses backed by a solid warranty in case of defects. With proper care and maintenance, quality sunglasses can protect for multiple seasons.

Best Sunglasses for Enjoying Water Activities

Finding the right pair of glasses is key to staying comfortable, safe, and even stylish. Here are the three best pairs of sunglasses to consider:

1. AO-1004 — Sunglasses for SUP Boarding

AO-1004 — Sunglasses for SUP Boarding

When you’re out on the open water for hours at a time, protecting your eyes from the sun’s intense glare is crucial. That’s why AO-1004 sunglasses are specially designed for relaxing stand-up paddle boarding. The polarized lenses effectively block 100% of UVA and UVB rays that can cause long-term damage. The sturdy, impact-resistant frames and lenses can withstand splashes and will stay securely in place even in windy conditions. With a lightweight build, the AO-1004 delivers superior comfort and protection during your time on the water, letting you focus on taking in the beautiful coastal sights.

2. Tournament — Sunglasses for Boating

Tournament — Sunglasses for Boating

With an ergonomic and lightweight frame designed for all-day comfort on the water, the AO Tournament sunglasses are an essential boating accessory. The durable yet flexible frame stays secure and comfortable from the dock to the open water. By filtering harsh glare off the water’s surface, Tournament glasses reduce eye fatigue and allow you to maintain focus while scanning for obstacles and other boats. With 100% UVA/UVB protection, these sunglasses also shield your eyes from reflected sunlight, making them a key part of staying safe and having fun while boating.

3. Saratoga — Sunglasses for Fishing

Saratoga — Sunglasses for Fishing

The polarized lenses in Saratoga sunglasses are specially designed for glare reduction off the water’s surface, allowing fishermen to see more clearly underwater. Choosing the right lens color enhances this visibility — brown lenses are ideal for freshwater fishing, cutting haze, and providing good contrast, while gray lenses filter bright offshore light. Saratoga’s lightweight frames stay comfortable all day long. Their durable build means these sunglasses can withstand years of fishing trips without damage. For visibility and precision on the water, a pair of Saratoga glasses is a fisherman’s best friend.

4. Original Pilot — Sunglasses for Chilling On the Beach

Original Pilot — Sunglasses for Chilling On the Beach

Original Pilot sunglasses are perfect for relaxing on the beach. Their polarized lenses reduce the sun’s glare on the water and allow for comfortable ocean views without squinting. The lightweight, comfortable frames can be worn for hours. Although water may occasionally splash on the lenses, Original Pilot’s hydrophobic coating causes it to bead and roll off, preventing obscured vision. The coating also makes the sunglasses easy to rinse clean after getting splashed, so you can enjoy your day at the beach without foggy, spotted lenses.

Discover Top-Quality Sunglasses with American Optical

As you can tell, selecting the right sunglasses for water activities is crucial for safety and performance. UV protection should be a top priority, with sunglasses blocking 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Polarized lenses reduce glare, while mirrored coatings and tints can enhance vision. Don’t forget about lens colors, as they’re also important for your health and comfort. Frame design is key to ensuring a snug fit and water-resistant features, so make sure to choose frames and lens materials that provide longevity.

To make an informed decision, American Optical offers sunglass options such as AO-1004, Saratoga, and Tournament, tailored to your preferences. Equip yourself with the ideal pair for your next aquatic adventure and protect your eyes while enjoying the beauty of the water. Get in touch today!

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Yes, sunglasses protect your eyes from UV rays and the glare of the water in any outdoor water activity.

Yes, you need different sunglasses for each activity. Goggles work well for swimming. Surfing sunglasses should wrap around your face and have a strap to keep them secure as you ride waves. For such proactive sports, sunglasses should have a strap. For more calming activities, you can search for a standard pair of glasses that have UV and water-repellent glass lenses.

Here are some tips for the right maintenance of most sunglasses for water activities:

  • Use anti-fog spray before wearing them to make your glasses more fog-resistant
  • Allow sunglasses to air dry completely before using to avoid fog
  • Rinse with fresh water after each use
  • Gently hand wash with mild soap and pat dry with a soft cloth
  • Don’t rub lenses when wet
  • Store in a microfiber bag
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