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Reviewed by our Gear Geeks:

Best Marine Binoculars In 2021

Z

Our experts at work

We gave our Gear lovers one job:

Test 21 different Marine Binoculars and write reviews of the best.

The result is 9 of the best Marine Binoculars on the market today.

bradley axmith

Bradley Axmith

Waterworld Fanatic
Bradley is our vikingship builder and gear nerd.

torben lonne

Torben Lonne

Editor at DIVEIN.com
Torben is a dive nut, with a passion for traveling and gear.

Traditional Marine Binoculars have 7×50 specifications. They are to the skipper, navigator, or lookout what google is to the internet. 7×50 specifications mean 50 mm diameter lenses (almost 2 inches) to let enough light in and magnified by a factor of 7 to give the ideal zoom without too much shake on the water. 

The exception is maybe for pontoon boats, which are more stable and typically cruise calm waters, where higher magnification specs (10×50 for example) will not be so irksome.

This guide to the best binoculars you can get in 2021 will pilot you through reliable spy-glasses to make your marine experience safer and easier. Start with a list of the best marine binoculars then read a description of some of the important components. 

We’ve tested and researched what’s what and found these won’t let you down. Keep reading for an explanation of some of the specifications.

From Steiner comes a pair that could easily be the best marine binoculars you can get your hands on. You’re paying for this quality, but it’s a price you won’t regret. Both ergonomic and providing a view, with which you don’t have to struggle, you will quickly and clearly find any buoy or harbor marking. They are always in focus and there’s no sign of barrel distortion you may experience with inferior units. With Steiner’s Commander series you get a clear, bright image from a marine binocular that separates itself from the pack.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Steiner Marine Commander Series:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Auto-focus BAK4
  • 2.3 lbs
What we like:
  • Nitrogen filling prevents fogging
  • Robust, German-made quality with lifetime warranty
  • Clear, bright images
  • Comfortable
  • Auto-focus
What we don’t like:
  • Doesn’t come with the Steiner flotation strap
  • Could seem slight heavy for some
  • Eye cups don't work so well with glasses

The body of these guys is so rugged the lifetime warranty is maybe moot. The coating also keeps dust and water out of it. If you have the money to shell out, this is the best. Have a little more and the optional integrated compass makes navigation a little easier too. Not too bad for stargazing either.

Steiner binoculars are manufactured with German quality and supply such customers as the US military. Nuff said. This product has great autofocus for ease of use and quick target acquisition when looking for skittish marine life. Give an extra $60 or thereabouts for an integrated compass, which makes navigation easier.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Steiner Navigator Pro 7x50:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • 370 ft field of view, auto-focus porro prism, 2 pounds
What we like:
  • Image clarity and contrast exceptional
  • Fogproof viewing in all conditions
  • Sports auto focus is great for different distances and users and actually works well
  • Very rough and tumble, solidly built to withstand a lot
  • Magnesium and aluminum build lighten its weight
What we don’t like:
  • Somewhat bulky (only potentially an issue)
  • Floating strap costs extra https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014WJ6U9E/

A solidly built, rubberized housing can seem bulky, but it means they are quite stable and sit well in your hands. Though not specifically made for the military, what is clear with the Navigator Pro, is the view you get in a product that your grand-kids might inherent.

These are great binoculars that you won’t regret buying.

CROSSFIRE HD 12×50 comes with fully multi-coated lenses to offer the best light transmission possible. It is one of the models you can trust in low-light conditions. If you’re looking for clarity and sharpness on safari or when camping, these are a good choice.

Whether or not you are wearing eyeglasses, you can be comfortable using it with its twist-up eyecups. The center focus system offers further convenience, allowing you to adjust both optics’ focus at the same time.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Vortex Optics Crossfire HD:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Product Dimensions (Length x Width): 6.6” x 5.3”
  • Product Weight: 29.5 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 15 mm
  • Field of View at 1,000 yds: 273'
  • Field of VIew (Angular): 5.2 degrees
  • Close Focus: 6'
  • Inclusions: Comfort Neck Strap, GlassPak Binocular Case, GlassPak Case Harness, Lens Cloth, Rainguard Eyepiece Cover, Tethered Objective Lens Cover
What we like:
  • Twist-up eyecups
  • Center focus system
  • GlassPak Binocular Case
  • GlassPak Case Harness
  • Tainguard eyepiece cover
What we don’t like:
  • Some very slight chromatic aberration in some conditions

Like most modern binoculars, the CROSSFIRE HD 12×50 has nitrogen filling and O-ring sealing for optimum performance even in harsh environments. These ensure fogproof and waterproof characteristics, so it does not matter if you are at a high altitude or exposed to sudden temperature changes.

For a firm grip, it is equipped with non-slip rubber armor. You can keep it safe and secure, thanks to its GlassPak Binocular Case and GlassPak Case Harness. The tether straps conveniently attach to the binoculars, so you do not have to worry about accidentally dropping them. The harness has a snug fit to keep you comfortable.

The Canon 10×30 IS II is the world’s most compact ISB. Image-stabilized binoculars (ISBs), powered by batteries, have a mechanism that will correct shakes and tremors with a single push of a button. If you are a casual user of binoculars or just starting, you will be surprised by what these binoculars can do.

ISBs have significantly changed the way we experience glassing. They are so versatile that they can be used for practically all applications, even stargazing and other astronomical viewings. More importantly, they have eliminated the need for additional paraphernalia like tripods.

Canon has many ISBs with different magnifications and objective lens diameters. However, the Canon 10 x 30 IS II is one of the most famous and most trusted pairs of ISBs today. Let’s dive in to find out how its IS system works and what other features give it its reputation!

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Canon IS II:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Product Dimension: 5” x 5.9” x 2.76”
  • Product Weight: 21.16 oz (excluding batteries)
  • Power Source: 2 AA Alkaline Batteries or 2 AA NiMh Batteries
  • Angular Field of View (Real): 6 degrees
  • Angular Field of View (Apparent): 55.3 degrees
  • Exit Pupil Diameter: 3 mm
  • Eye Relief: 14.5 mm
What we like:
  • Improved IS technology with faster startup time than its predecessor
  • Suitability for all light conditions and various applications
  • Superior edge-to-edge clarity with doublet field-flattener lenses
  • Compact design
  • Anti-reflective exterior coating ideal for direct sunlight exposure
What we don’t like:
  • The battery case has no additional protective layer
  • Eye relief slightly lower than the recommended eye relief for eyeglass wearers
  • Huge eyecups

FURY HD 10×42 is the best Vortex binoculars for distance ranging capabilities. It is the perfect pair for hunters, thanks to the easy-to-use controls on the right side that allows for one-handed manipulation. You can easily use other tools with your other hand, such as a bow or a rifle.

It has a Horizontal Component Distance (HCD) mode, an angle-compensated ranging technology that provides you with the actual distance data you need for maximum accuracy. Meanwhile, the Line of Sight (LOS) mode shows the actual LOS range. Moreover, you can set the illuminated right barrel display in either yards or meters.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Vortex Optics Fury HD 5000:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Product Dimensions (Length x Width): 5.75” x 5”
  • Product Weight: 31.8 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 16 mm
  • Field of View at 1,000 yds: 321.6'
  • Field of VIew (Angular): 6.1 degrees
  • Close Focus: 18.5'
  • Inclusions: CR2 Battery, Deluxe Padded Carry Case, Rainguard, Tethered Objective Lens Covers
What we like:
  • Easy-to-use controls on one side
  • HCD mode
  • LOS mode
  • Illuminated right barrel display in yards and meters
  • XR fully multi-coated lenses
What we don’t like:
  • Only recommended for rangefinding

This pair of binoculars comes with proprietary XR Fully Multi-Coated lenses, which significantly improve light transmission with as little light loss as possible. It also has a phase-correction coating that optimizes overall contrast and resolution.

To prevent moisture from compromising your viewing experience, the FURY HD 10×42 is purged with nitrogen and sealed with O-ring sealing. With these features, you can definitely use it even at the highest peaks without fogging.

Furthermore, the rubber armor construction gives it a tight grip, ensuring the best external protection possible. For your comfort, the tapered eyecups offer a natural fit. You won’t find yourself in an uncomfortable position even after hours of use.

Nikon is one of the most trusted brands in all things optics. Sturdy and reliable, Nikon binoculars are neither ridiculously expensive nor do they promise the moon. The Ocean Pro is a marine unit that might not be the best in terms of bells and whistles, but the feel of these binoculars and ease of use promise a product that delivers what you need while sailing or boating. There is a cheaper Ocean Pro model, a cheaper alternative that doesn’t include a compass, which may be irrelevant for those using chartplotters.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Nikon Ocean Pro CF WP:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Bak4 porro prism, multi-coated anti-reflection lens, 2.49 pounds
What we like:
  • Fogproof and clear in all temperatures
  • Crystal clear with anti-reflective optics
  • Robust build for lifetime potential
  • Good “no-fault” repair and replacement policy from Nikon
  • Integrated global compass
What we don’t like:
  • While view is sharp, compass blurs a little

Clean optics and passable night vision utility make this something you won’t regret buying. High contrast imaging is great on the water. Just remember the floating strap to keep these Nikon binoculars afloat should they bail into the water.

With a Porro prism system and fully multi-coated lenses, the RAPTOR 10×32 boasts crisp images with precise performance even in low-light settings. It is a classic, easy-to-use and affordable pair that even your kids can use.

Like most binoculars today, it promises fogproof and waterproof capabilities. The nitrogen purging and O-ring sealing ensure that it remains free from debris and moisture, no matter the conditions. Additionally, the rubber armor body offers a non-slip grip. This feature allows you to have a worry-free experience wherever you may be and whatever the external challenges you encounter.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Vortex Optics Raptor 10x32:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Product Dimensions (Length x Width): 4.5” x 5.7”
  • Product Weight: 17.6 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 13 mm
  • Field of View at 1,000 yds: 339'
  • Field of VIew (Angular): 6.3 degrees
  • Close Focus: 15'
  • Inclusions: Comfort Neck Strap, Rainguard Eyepiece Cover, Soft Carry Case, Tethered Objective Lens Covers
What we like:
  • Relatively affordable
  • Lightweight
  • Twist-up eyecups
  • Adjustable IPD
  • Center focus system
What we don’t like:
  • Low eye relief

RAPTOR 10×32 has twist-up eyecups, which you can easily use and adjust. It does not matter whether you are wearing eyeglasses or not. You can also change the interpupillary distance (IPD) or the distance between the centers of both pupils by merely rotating the binoculars until the IPD aligns with your pupils.

It comes with a center focus wheel for further convenience, which lets you adjust both barrels simultaneously, while the diopter knobs on each eye-piece will adjust for different eye strengths.

Bushnell is a well-known company with a pretty good reputation that’s well-deserved. These marine binoculars have been put through its paces by many a seaman. Unlike Steiner, these are made in China, but they are both shock absorbent and waterproof: these binos will last decades, notwithstanding an exceptional blow.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Bushnell 7x50:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • 350ft FOV at a half mile, BAK4 porro prism, individual focus, FMC, Waterproof, 2 lbs
What we like:
  • Good image capture in low light conditions
  • No fogging
  • Pretty robust
  • Impressive flotation
What we don’t like:
  • The analog compass on the model that includes one is not too stable
  • The lens cap is mystically not attached to the unit

When looking at the horizon from shore the image is clear with a good stable and bright view that speaks to the quality of the lenses. At dusk the optics allow enough light in to see well; at night, these Bushnells are great for looking at the moon, the stars. A good, reliable pair of binoculars for your nautical activities, these are indeed.

VIPER HD 8×42 is one of the best Vortex binoculars because it is one of the lightest, full-powered, yet compact models available in the market today. These are ideal for hunting. Made to endure long-lasting performance even in the most challenging environments, its lenses are protected by proprietary, ultra-hard, scratch-resistant coating, ArmorTek. The body has a non-slip grip, so it won’t easily break if you accidentally drop it.

Filled with argon gas and sealed with O-ring sealing, it offers fogproof and waterproof capabilities. Moisture and dust won’t easily penetrate the binoculars, giving you the confidence you need in the extreme outdoors.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Vortex Optics Viper HD:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Product Dimensions (Length x Width): 5.6” x 4.9”
  • Product Weight: 24.5 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 18 mm
  • Field of View at 1,000 yds: 409'
  • Field of VIew (Angular): 7.8 degrees
  • Close Focus: 6'
  • Inclusions: Comfort Neck Strap, GlassPak Binocular Harness, Rainguard Eyepiece Cover, Tethered Objective Lens Covers
What we like:
  • Comfortable eye relief
  • ArmorTek lens protective coating
  • Premium ED glass
  • XR fully multi-coated optics
  • Phase-correction coating
What we don’t like:
  • May not meet expectations in low-light conditions

With premium extra-low dispersion (ED) glass, the VIPER HD 8×42 delivers quality images in the most accurate colors possible. For reduced light loss during transmission, it is built with XR fully multi-coated optics. All air-to-glass surfaces have multiple anti-reflective coatings to ensure optimal light transmission. Moreover, the phase-correction coating offers enhanced contrast and resolution.

It is compatible with a tripod adapter for your convenience, enabling you to mount it on either a car window mount or a tripod. You can definitely bring it to all your adventures, thanks to the GlassPak Binocular Harness with tethers you can attach to the binoculars. This accessory lets you keep your binoculars safe and secure at all times.

Hard to imaging getting more for your buck. I recently used these sailing a vikingship in choppy waters without a GPS, and therefore needing them for navigation. In a bucking and rolling longship these binoculars worked just fine. Contrast is not as sharp as the Nikon or Steiner models and low-light optics less impressive, but identifying buoys and checking out playful convoys of porpoises along the way worked just fine.

These Hooways have a rangefinder and compass and can tolerate a shock and occasional awe in the rough and tumble seas. This matches the yellow æsthetics of the Hooway design. Not everybody’s cup of tea, but it makes them easy to find in the water at dusk.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Hooway 7x50:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Individual focus, reticles rangefinder, illuminated compass, 2.2lbs, Bak4 Porro Prism,
What we like:
  • Multi-coated lens to reduce reflection
  • Waterproof, fogproof, shockproof
  • Very usable compass
  • Rubber coating and form factor both ergonomic and non-slip
What we don’t like:
  • View-finder protective cap falls off easily
  • Focusing may take a little longer, especially when sharing with other mariners

Equipped with an Abbe-Koenig prism, the RAZOR UHD 8×42 has a relatively longer optical path that delivers sharp resolution in these higher-end binoculars. These could be the last binos for birding you’re ever going to need. The apochromatic (APO) index-matched lenses offer reliable color correction, so the images you see are always as precise as they could get.

Moreover, the UHD optics effectively eliminates chromatic aberration and enhances light transmission. For optimal clarity and performance even in low-light conditions, its lenses come with the XR Plus fully multi-coated technology.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Vortex Optics Razor UHD:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Product Dimensions (Length x Width): 7” x 5.6”
  • Product Weight: 32.2 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 16.7 mm
  • Field of View at 1,000 yds: 420'
  • Field of View (Angular): 8 degrees
  • Close Focus: 4.5'
  • Inclusions: Accessory/Ammo Pouch, Comfort Neck Strap, Harness and Case, Lens Cloth, Objective Lens Covers, Ocular Lens Cover
What we like:
  • 420' field of view at 1,000 yds
  • 8 degrees angular field of view
  • UHD optics
  • XR plus fully multi-coated optics
  • Magnesium chassis
What we don’t like:
  • Relatively pricey
  • Low close focus distance

RAZOR UHD 8×42 has a magnesium body, delivering exceptional ergonomics while significantly reducing weight. With ArmorTek coating, the exterior of the optics is surely scratch-resistant. The rubber armor grip complements this chassis, with the firm grip offering you a worry-free handling experience, especially when the conditions call for it.

Of course, it has fogproof and waterproof capabilities, too. Both the argon gas filling and O-ring sealing guarantee that moisture and dirt would be the least of your concerns.

With cutting-edge features like the APO system, premium ED glass, and XR Plus fully multi-coated lenses, there is no wonder why KAIBAB HD 18×56 is considered one of the best Vortex binoculars. Their high magnification and wide-field of view are great for viewing over vast areas.

The APO system’s index-matched optics provide color correction across the visual spectrum, complementing the premium ED glass that delivers reliable color fidelity and resolution. On the other hand, the XR Plus fully multi-coated lenses guarantee exceptional clarity regardless of the lighting conditions. There is little to no light loss during transmission.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Vortex Optics Kaibab HD:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Product Dimensions (Length x Width): 7.7” x 5.7”
  • Product Weight: 43.5 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 16.4 mm
  • Field of View at 1,000 yds: 194'
  • Field of VIew (Angular): 3.7 degrees
  • Close Focus: 19.8'
  • Inclusions: Comfort Neck Strap, Deluxe Padded Carry Case, Lens Cloth, Rainguard, Tethered Objective Lens Covers, Uni-Daptor Quick-Release Tripod Adapter
What we like:
  • Excellent close focus distance
  • Premium ED glass
  • XR fully multi-coated lenses
  • ArmorTek lens protective coating
  • Deluxe padded carry case
What we don’t like:
  • Heavy
  • 194' field of view at 1,000 yds only

KAIBAB HD 18×56 has a rubber-armored body that offers a non-slip grip, no matter the environment. It also has scratch-resistant capabilities, thanks to the proprietary ArmorTek coating that protects the exterior lenses.

Fogproof and waterproof capabilities are also essential. For a worry-free outdoor experience regardless of the weather, it is filled with argon gas and sealed with O-ring sealing. It is also compatible with a tripod adapter, so you can mount it whenever needed for your convenience.

These Fujinon Marine Binoculars, from the Fujifilm company, are lightweight and comfortable to hold up against the eyes for longer periods of time because of the gummi, peel-down eyecups. The view through these is sharp and bright and seemingly stable in rocky, daylight conditions. The optics are impressive and can compare to the more expensive Nikons on this list. 

A compass is included with a light when viewing in low-light conditions and individual focus knobs work sufficiently well. These are a great value and many mariners merrily use them as secondary binoculars, but most casual seamen will happily have them as their primary viewer.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Fujinon Mariner WPC-XL:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • 368 feet at 1000 yards, Porro Prism, Waterproof, 2 lbs
What we like:
  • A crystal clear view a functional compass
  • The combination of affordability and functionality
  • Eyepieces are very comfortabl
What we don’t like:
  • Lenses not fully coated
  • Not apparently shock absorbent

Another Bushnell product with the waterproof and fogproof requirements for marine binoculars, these are a budget pair that do its business more than satisfactorily. The lenses are good enough to provide clear, bright viewing during the day and decent enough viewing in low-light conditions.

As far as casual boating goes, these binoculars will serve the seaman just fine, providing increased awareness and security with a reliability befitting moderate sailing. In cases, in particular onboard a sailboat accustomed to rocky expeditions, a more robust model might be better. But the quality of sight and feel of these in your hands make for a convincing middle-range marine binoculars.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Bushnell H2O 7x50 :
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • BAK4 porro prism, waterproof, center focus, 2.2 lbs
What we like:
  • Nice rubber grip coating
  • Very decent viewing
  • No fogging
What we don’t like:
  • Doesn’t float without optional floating strap
  • Plastic ring around the eye pieces probably won’t sustain a good drop too-well

This product is something of a quagmire, in that, on the whole, they work pretty well. Their specs and performance at this price make for something rather attractive. When testing out a pair they seemed to give the same kind of viewing experience as the Hooway binoculars, albeit with a center focus knob, which is can be a mark in Barska’s favor.

But the construction feels less robust than other candidates. It doesn’t change the fact that most people will find using these spyglasses a delight, questioning why they’d spring for binoculars 2 or 3 times the price. Apparently service, support, and the Russian roulette factor explains it: there is a higher frequency of customers reporting defects. Still, these Barska Deep Sea binoculars are pretty good when they work, which–it must be said–is most of the time

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Barska Deep Sea 7x50:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • 345 feet field of view, Waterproof, BAK4 porro prism, 1 pound
What we like:
  • Variable zoom makes target acquisition easier
  • Single focus knob
  • Reticle rangefinder and digital compass
  • Compact, light-weight design
  • Affordable
What we don’t like:
  • Probably won’t survive as many drops or hits as more expensive binoculars
  • In case of any issues with the product, support might be difficult to get

Another pair of binocs that could be a little suspect on account of its no-name brand, the NOCOEX 10x50s are an affordable brand that won’t steer you wrong. On account of the wide field of viewing, the extra magnification factor doesn’t impede holding onto targets in greater distances too much while rocking on a boat.

These binoculars do what they need to with the added benefit of slightly more magnification, making them great for trawler boats, bigger motor sailers, pontoon boats or calmer days at sea.

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the NOCOEX 10X50:
Where to buy:
  • Amazon with worldwide shipping
Specs & Features:
  • Individual focus, illuminated compass, optical rangefinder, waterproof, floats, Bak4 porro prism, 2.2 lbs.
What we like:
  • Easy to focus
  • Good value
  • Rangefinder and compass work well
  • Decent construction quality
  • Lightweight with practical accessories included (carrying case and strap)
What we don’t like:
  • Low-light viewing could be a little better
  • Eyepiece cap falls off too easily

Vortex Optics is one of the leaders in the sports optics industry today. It has all kinds of binoculars suitable for different applications, as well as different budgets. For hunting, the company offers many quality binoculars that can deliver even in the most rugged conditions. One of these optics is the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42 an entry level pair that really excels in terms of build quality.

The DIAMONDBACK has been around for years. As an entry-level pair of binoculars, it has always met, if not exceeded, expectations. However, Vortex Optics decided to give it a major upgrade in 2019, introducing the Vortex DIAMONDBACK HD 10X42.

As the name implies, it comes with HD lenses, but what is it really all about, and how different it is from its predecessors? Is it better? If so, what else has improved? We will find out all the answers as we discuss the specs and features of these lauded binoculars in this review. Let’s dive in!

We’ve done all the research for you and found the best place to buy the Vortex Optics Diamondback HD:
Where to buy:
Specs & Features:
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7” x 5.1”
  • Product Weight: 21.3 oz.
  • Eye Relief: 15 mm
  • Exit Pupil: 4.2 mm
  • Linear Field of View at 1,000 yds.: 330’
  • Angular Field of View 6.3 degrees
  • Close Focus Distance: 5’
What we like:
  • Optimal edge-to-edge clarity with an HD optical system
  • Wide field of view
  • Scratch-resistant properties of the ArmorTek coating
  • Lightweight and heavy-duty magnesium chassis with shock-resistant capabilities
  • Smooth central focus wheel
What we don’t like:
  • Smooth central hinge may become loose over time
  • Eye relief not suitable for eyeglass wearers

Explaining Marine Binocular Concepts

The sea and waterways are different than say the forest. That’s where the profile of marine binoculars differs from that of hunting scopes for example. On a boat you need a pair with a rubber coating to deal with getting bumped around in a boat that’s also waterproof and fog resistant. The lens also has to have a particular coating to cope with glare from sun and sea.

While 7×50 suits the sailor and boater, bird watchers and Peeping Toms prefer specs with greater magnification. The ideal magnification provided by a good set of binoculars letting in the right amount of light reveals to the seaman markers like buoys that confirm his position, other ships’ course, as well as providing the bird and wildlife watcher the best tool. 

Some prefer compact binoculars, while others want distance gauges and integrated compasses. Names like Steiner and Nikon are joined on our list by lesser known but decent companies that make more affordable units. For the serious sailor looking for an item to last a lifetime, don’t be fooled by features. On the other hand, having enjoyed using some of the features on (especially the Hooway) cheaper models, there are no complaints there.

Understand the features and figure out what’s best for you.

Center Focus vs Individual Focus vs auto-focus

A pair of binoculars like the Steiner Navigator Pro has auto-focus that adjusts itself depending on the distance of the object received. Individual focus for each eye piece, adjusting the diopter, is good for people with astigmatisms. It takes a little more time when passing them off for a shipmate’s viewing but it’s minimal inconvenience; whereas a central focus knob sharpens the view for both eye pieces with one back or forth twist, using less time when passing the binoculars around after pointing out something extraordinary.

What is the difference between BAK4 and BAK7 Porro Prism?

Barium Crown glass, or BAK4, is the best type of porro prism optics. It transmits light better with less light being lost due to internal reflection because of a better manufacturing process and the high-density glass materials used. BAK7 is an inferior prism used by cheaper models that does not use high-density glass.

What is a Reticle Rangefinder? 

It is an optical rangefinder, meaning you need to know the size of the object to know its distance. Roughly speaking if you’re looking at a sailboat with a mast roughly 30 feet high, you can figure out how far away it is. Here’s how it works.

What does FMC mean?

FMC stands for fully multi-coated. It refers to the lens and provides the best protection from glare and reflection on the water. This is an important part of marine binocular profiles. While FMC doesn’t guarantee amazing images on its own, only high-end products incorporate them.

If you already have a marine binocular or you just bought one, leave a comment in the comment section below and share your experience with it.

4 Comments

  1. Costas

    What’s the difference between some of the cheaper models and the more expensive ones? The price difference is huge!

  2. Torben Lonne

    In most cases, the quality of the build and material is what makes the difference. In other cases, it’s also the brand that you pay for. That said, you also often get a great pair when choosing the know brands, as they do quality above all else.

  3. Adam Smith

    Fantastic Review Article. Excellent Explained. The way yo have designed this Article is amazing. Among these Binocular which one do you recommend for Navy? Thank you, Author, for sharing such an most informative Article. Hopefully waiting for your more informative article in the nearly future.

  4. Bradley Axmith

    Hello Mr. Adam Smith. Thanks for your question. While not a Navy man myself, if I were on a corvette or coast guard cutter, I’d likely go for the Steiner Commanders or the Nikon CPs with the integrated compass. The former doesn’t have any flotation properties, but I guess that matters very little on a military bridge. The optics on these two are just a little better.

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