Marine Binocular Reviews – Watch Sailing with the right Binoculars 2017


Watching a water sport can be really fun, especially a sailboat regatta. Though technology lets you watch it from the comfort of your home, nothing beats the view and feel you get on location. So if you like to watch the action from the shore with hundreds of other spectators, you most likely will need a good set of marine binoculars.

Binocular Model

Key features

Review Grade


Celestron UpClose G2 10x50 Porro

Celestron UpClose G2 10×50 Porro

  • 50 mm objective for the brightest view
  • aluminum body plus rubber
  • neck straps not suitable for extended wearing
4 Stars amazon-button-png-200

Bushnell Falcon 10x50 Wide Angle

Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle

  • 10x magnification and a 50mm wide lens
  • wide view of the race
  • Instafocus lever to focus quickly
4.5 Stars amazon-button-png-200

Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro

Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro

  • 10 x magnification
  • field of view of 393 ft.
  • sharp image
  • objects closer than 25 feet no good focus
4.5 Stars amazon-button-png-200

Simmons ProSport Porro 10x50

Simmons ProSport Porro 10×50

  • Superior barium crown glass (BaK7) for crisp view
  • fog and water proof
  • 10 x magnification
  • best price for its features
 4.5 Stars  amazon-button-png-200

BARSKA 10x42 Lucid View Compact

BARSKA 10×42 Lucid View Compact

  • Weighing only 15 ounces
  • Blue-tinted optics: clarity and brightness of image
  • Fold-down rubber to protect your spectacles
 4 Stars  amazon-button-png-200

What are marine binoculars?

Marine binoculars usually refer to those that are taken along by sailors and are used on board. But the ones we are interested in are rather used to watch a sailing race from a distance and hence will have different requirements.

Unlike horse or motor racing, sail racing is much slower and hence does not require faster tracking of the moving targets. So what are the important features you should look for in a sail racing binocular?

Do you know enough binocular jargon?

It is always good to know the basic lingo used before you chose to invest in a good pair of binoculars. When you start looking at binocular models, you will come across terms that are commonly used to describe its features. It is good to familiarize yourself with these so that you can make an informed choice.

  1. Field of view (FOV)

This refers to the width of the image that you can see through the binoculars. This is ideal for quick moving targets or for a bigger view of even a slow moving race such as a sail boat race.

  1. Exit pupil

It is the amount of light that enters your eye from the binoculars. Both magnification and the diameter of the objective lens will affect the exit pupil. A higher magnification can reduce light, but sailing events happen in enough light, so this can be ignored.

  1. Image Stability

With an increase in magnification, the images can become shaky with the slightest movement of your hand. In these cases you can either use a tripod or buy binoculars that have Image Stability built in.

  1. Eye Relief

It refers to the minimum distance required between your eye and the eye piece to get a full view of the image. For people who wear glasses, binoculars with a high eye relief are ideal as it compensates for the distance.

What features to look for?

There are hundreds of binoculars available in the market with different features based on what they will be used for. But all binoculars have some basics common features that are listed below.

  1. Magnification

You will see two numbers on every model. The first number denotes the magnification which is the number of times that the image you see will be magnified. It can range anywhere from 7x to 12 x.

You might reason out that a higher magnification would be better, but the downside to it is that image stability can be poor, which means you need a really steady hand or your view is going to be highly shaky. When watching a sail boat race, you will be at a distance from the race, and so a magnification of 9 or 10 would be ideal.

  1. Objective lens

The objective lens or the eye piece is the closest to your eye. The second number on any binocular model is the diameter of this objective lens. A large lens will give good visibility even in dim light but will be heavier. Since most sailing races will happen in good light conditions, you won’t really need a large lens. Lens with a diameter of 30mm to 50mm are ideal.

  1. Prism type

Binoculars use either a Porro or a roof type of prism. Porro prisms offer a wider view while the roof prisms are ideal for compact models.

  1. Optical coating or coated optics

The lens in the binoculars is coated to avoid loss of light due to reflection. This helps in improving the brightness and overall quality of the image viewed.

  1. Size

Based on the size of the objective lens used binoculars are classified as

  • Compact binoculars – The objective lens is 21mm to 28mm
  • Mid-sized binoculars – The objective lens is 32mm to 36mm
  • Full sized binoculars – The objective lens is 42mm to 45mm
  1. Price

The price range of binoculars is vast, but you can get a good pair of binoculars between $30 to $200 dollars for most uses.

  1. Brand

You can choose from a wide variety of brands as well as sentry level to high end models. Some well known brands are Bushnell, Nikon, Vortex, Zeiss etc.

  1. Weight

Depending on the magnification and the diameter of the objective lens, the weight of the binoculars also increases. They can range from 1 to 4 pounds. The heavier binoculars are best mounted on a tripod to reduce shakiness and fatigue with extended use.

What are the best binoculars for watching of sailing?

We have handpicked the top performing binoculars that are suitable for watching a sport such as a sailing race. We have taken many factors into consideration so that you can choose the one that works for you.

Celestron UpClose G2 10×50 Porro Binocular 71256 Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binocular Simmons ProSport Porro Prism Binocular (10x 50-mm) BARSKA 10×42 Lucid View Compact Binoculars
Magnification 10 10 10 10 10
Objective lens (mm) 50 50 50 50 42
Field of View (at 1000 yards) 150 300 393 341 262
Exit Pupil (mm) 5 5 5 5 4.2
Prism Porro Porro Porro Porro Roof
Minimum distance (ft) 25 21 5.5
Weight (oz) 27 27 31 31 15
Eye relief (mm) 12 9 14 12 12

(subject of change)

$28.89 $38.57 $48.49 $24.90 $27

Celestron UpClose G2 10×50 Porro Binocular 

Celestron UpClose G2 10x50 Porro

Buying a binocular does not have to be expensive, but quality and performance cannot be compromised as well. The Celestron UpClose G2 combines these two with some amazing features to make your sport viewing an enjoyable experience.

The wide 50 mm objective makes sure you have the brightest view of the sailboats possible. Porro prism gives you a good three dimensional view for greater clarity. Even though you would be on a shore, a remote possibility of wetness cannot be dismissed. Hence, the outer aluminum body is rubber covered to be water resistant.

The BaK7 of the prism gives really crisp images for such a small priced gear. The neck straps provided may not be suitable for extended wearing. It also comes with a tripod thread in case you would like it mounted. It also comes with a soft carrying case to keep your gear safe from scratches or dust.

All in all, this is a great binocular with all features of a high-end model but for almost half the price.

Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle Binoculars

Bushnell Falcon 10x50 Wide Angle

If you are looking for a high definition binocular but don’t want to pay a hefty price, the Bushnell Falcon 10×50 Wide Angle binocular could be a good choice for you. With a 10x magnification and a 50mm wide lens, you can be sure to catch all the action at your sailboat regatta in crystal clarity and brightness.

It has a good field of view of 300mm, which means you get a really wide view of the race. But you can also view things up close as it has a minimum focus distance of 25 feet. The lens is coated for a sharp image. Don’t worry if you wear glasses, the foldable eye cups will ensure that the binocular lens is protected from scratches.

A special feature is the Instafocus lever that helps in adjusting the focus quickly by just tilting the lever instead of a wheel. The coated optics help you give the maximum clarity of the image. The outer rubberized cover keeps the binoculars safe from abrasion.


Coming from a reputable brand such as Bushnell who are known for binoculars, you can be assured that you will only have the best sail boat viewing experience.

Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binocular

Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro

We pick another favorite from the house of Bushnell, the PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binocular. When you are at a sail boat race, a wide view of the race is important for you to enjoy the live action.

When you are engrossed in the race, the last thing you want to do is keep adjusting the focus to view your favorite sailboat. That is why the 10 x magnification comes with a PermaFocus option, which means you simply raise your gear and watch the action right away. No adjustments are absolutely required no matter what the distance.

The 50mm wide diameter lens gives you the widest, brightest view possible with a field of view of 393 ft. It has Porro prism and coated optics for a really sharp image. The only downside of the product is that due to the Permafocus feature, objects that are very close, that is within 25 feet may not achieve a good focus. But this is hardly an issue with sailboat racing where the objects are well beyond this distance.

If you like a fuss-free binocular with a superior performance, then this Permafocus model will be your best friend.

Simmons ProSport Porro Prism Binocular (10x 50-mm)

Simmons ProSport Porro 10x50

A great way to enjoy a sail boat race is to go take the Simmons ProSport Porro Prism Binocular with you. Get 10 times the magnification without the shakiness and the brightest view with the wide 50 mm objective. The optics are coated to avoid loss of light due to glare. The prism glass is made of superior barium crown glass (BaK7) for a really crisp view.

The rubberized armor makes sure that you have a firm grip of your gear as you follow the race. So even though they are super light weight, you can handle them with ease. They are also fog and water proof so that you only get the best viewing even in unfavorable weather conditions.

The quality of viewing you get is unbelievable if you factor in the price. It is the lowest out of the five binoculars we have reviewed here and yet is comparable in performance to the other and even some high end gears.

So go ahead and make it yours to enjoy high quality viewing that does not burn a hole in your pocket.

BARSKA 10×42 Lucid View Compact Binoculars

BARSKA 10x42 Lucid View Compact

The Barska 10×42 Lucid View is the lightest of the lot weighing a mere 15 ounces. But it is quite heavy on features with 10 x magnification and a 42mm diameter objective for a wide image. The BaK7 prisms and blue-tinted coated optics give you maximum clarity of images by maximizing brightness.

It has a good field of view of 262 feet and can also allow focus nearby objects with a close focus distance of 5.5 feet. The roof prism is what makes it extremely compact and portable. It also comes with a rubberized outer armor for extra grip. Fold-down rubber eye cups are designed to protect your spectacles. It comes with a dual-hinge that allows it to be folded and stored compactly.

This is the lightest, compact binocular that is packed with a lot of high-end features for those who like to pack light.

And the winner is…

After carefully analyzing the different features of the above five marine binocular, the Bushnell PermaFocus Wide Angle Porro Prism Binocular amazon-button-png-200 emerges as the best binocular for watching sailing. When it is a good sailboat race that you want to enjoy, you don’t want to be thinking about minor adjustments or compromise on quality of viewing.

The PermaFocus wide angle gives you a hassle-free viewing experience and at the same time is light weight and affordable. Nonetheless, the other options are nearly comparable and have been chosen to fulfill individual preferences. So go ahead and buy yourself a pair of good binoculars and buy that ticket to your next sailboat regatta.

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