Choosing Marine Binoculars (UK) 22

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Trying to look at things over water is a challenge within itself. This means that the binoculars used must really be made for this type of exploration. They also need to have plenty of features that will allow them to not only do the job but also do it perfectly. This article explains what you should look for when purchasing a high quality set of marine binoculars. We’ve also listed our Top 3 Marine Binoculars for 2023.

Marine Binoculars

Fog-proof and Waterproof Features

Quite naturally, marine binoculars must be waterproof. Just know that there are various types of available waterproofing. A lot of vendors say that they have waterproof binoculars, but they are only protected against water. Make sure that you get binoculars that contain an O-ring seal and are nitrogen purged.

This signifies that the body has been charged with dry nitrogen gas that stops the fogging, which usually occurs when the temperatures change very quickly. This will make sure that your marine binoculars are protected from all types of water and moisture and will not fog up. This also means that the inside of your binoculars will have protection from corrosion, which will be an added benefit if you like to use them while out on the ocean.

Best Magnification for Marine Binoculars

When out at sea, your goal will be to find subjects that are in a distance, more so than what you would expect if you were on dry land. The larger the magnification, the better your view will be.

However, there is a major problem with this logic. High magnification will cause problems trying to stabilise your image. So, considering the fact that the deck of a boat is not stable anyways, your expensive high-powered binoculars will be almost impossible to use! Your image will never be stable enough to view.

This is why the majority of marine binoculars usually have magnifications of around 7x. This will give you enough power to view your images without causing any stabilisation problems.

boating binoculars

Objective Lens Size

This specifies the size of the lens at the tip of your binoculars. Large objective lenses can gather more light, which will result in a brighter image. This is something that should be taken into consideration if you plan on using your binoculars during early morning, dusk or nighttime. Naturally, larger lenses will mean larger and heavier binoculars. Usually, marine binoculars are used on a boat, so this is not a problem. Most marine binoculars have objective lenses of 30mm to 50mm.

FOV or Field of View

Your FOV is the horizontal width of what you can view when looking through your binoculars.

With a wide field of view, it is easier to instantly locate subjects when you are looking through your binoculars. When on the water, it allows you to spot different subjects and see more of them in your view. For example, you could see other boats in the distance.

A lower magnification will mean a wider FOV. A view that is too wide will distort your images along the borders. So, you need to get a wider field of view at the right magnification.

For marine use, 7×50 binoculars are the perfect balance between magnification, lens size and FOV.

Fujinon binoculars

Size and Weight

When it comes to the size and weight of your marine binoculars, it really doesn’t matter. They are usually kept on a boat and only utilised when on the water. If you want to use them for other things besides boating adventures, then this might become a problem.


Some marine binoculars are available with an integrated compass. You can pinpoint the bearing of a particular subject. It will depend on your needs, but this is something that is an added bonus. If you find that you do need this particular feature then make sure that you get a compass that illuminates during the night time hours. Quite naturally, these will require the usage of batteries.

Floating Straps

Have you ever considered what would happen if your binoculars fell into the water? Some marine binoculars can float; the majority of them do not. So, get a floating strap that you can attach to your binoculars. This will make sure that they stay on top of the water long enough for you to get them out. Certain models such as the Fujinon 7×50 Mariner are available with a floating neck strap. Some marine binoculars are not available with this particular feature, which means that you will have to purchase the floating strap separately.

Our Top 3 Marine Binoculars for 2023

** Note: All binoculars recommended below are suitable for eyeglasses users **

Fujinon 7X50 WPC-XL Mariner

Current Price: £399


It is important that marine binoculars are not only waterproof but also stable when you are out in high seas. The Fujinon Mariner 7×50 WPC-XL binoculars have both of these features covered. They are 100% waterproof and even float in water when used with the included floating neck strap. They are also nitrogen purged, fog-proofed, comfortable to use and highly durable.

The 7x magnification will allow you to look at things in the distance, but also give you the ability to view your subjects without any stabilisation problems. This is especially functional whenever the waves are high. The image quality on these is superb and highly rated by Fuji binocular users.

The very wide (7 degrees) field of view together with the bright images produced by the 50mm lenses is simply remarkable. These features are handy for marine use as you can spot approaching boats easily even in poor light conditions.

These marine binoculars have a digital compass, for day and night use, visible through the eyepiece. If you don’t need the compass you can save around £40 and choose the Fujinon 7×50 WP-XL Mariner. These are exactly the same binoculars excluding the compass on top.

The Fujinon 7×50 WPC-XL Mariner are our top-pick marine binoculars as well as our best-selling waterproof model. They are currently priced at £399, which is a bargain for what you get with them.

Bushnell 7×50 H2O Binoculars

Current Price: £199

Bushnell 7X50 H2O Binoculars

If you want good quality marine binoculars without breaking the bank then the Bushnell 7×50 H2O are a good pick. Bushnell are experts in producing excellent optics at low prices and this marine model is no different. The 7x magnification is handy for using the binoculars in and out of the water. As far as waterproofing, fog proofing and wide field of view this model matches any other high quality marine binocular.

Although the Bushnell H2O have perfectly good lenses, you might find the Fujinon binoculars optically better with sharper and brighter images. In conclusion, the Bushnell 7×50 H2O are great value for their price range (£199) and a solid choice as marine binoculars.

Avalon 8X32 Mini HD Binoculars

Current Price: £169

Avalon 8x32 Mini HD Binoculars

If you like to travel light but still want to enjoy beautiful, sharp images then we highly recommend the Avalon 8X32 Mini HD Binoculars. They are much smaller than any standard size marine binoculars. They offer a perfect balance between small size (32mm lenses), lightweight (416 grams) and excellent quality optics. They fit in a jacket pocket or a small backpack pocket which makes them ideal for not only for marine use but also for travel and general viewing.

This model combines Avalon’s HD lenses, compact easy to use design and a wide field of view (6.9 degrees) to spot and follow moving subjects. Just to top things up, the Avalon 8X32 Mini HD binoculars are also nitrogen purged, 100% waterproof and fog-proof. They currently sell for only £169 which we believe is a bargain for a product at this level.

[ Show me all the marine binoculars ]


  1. Please can you recommend a pair of binoculars for my husband. We live overlooking the sea and he wants to identify shipping and other water activities from our house and front patio, about 200 yards from the sea. I have considered the Nikon Monarch 5? Many thanks

    1. Hi Janet, in order to see details on ships and distant boats (and identifying shipping) he might benefit from using higher powered binoculars. Here’s a guide on how to choose some as well as the currently recommended models for the task:

      Adam Murray, Procular
  2. I’m planning on a visit to Scotland and the Orkney islands next year and want a pair of binoculars that can be used on boat trips and from land as well for hopefully spotting wildlife
    What can you recommend please

    Alex Benson-Wilson
    1. Hi Alex, you should probably opt for a good pair of 8x binoculars as this magnification would work well for both the boat trips as well as spotting wildlife from land. A great option would be the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars below:×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  3. I am looking for a pair to be used on a large yatch and would ideally prefer something much larger than most of the pairs listed here. Would something like 16×50 be completely unusable?

    1. Hi Joe,

      Unfortunately from our experience 16x power will be unusable onboard the yacht regardless of the size of the boat or the ocean conditions. Even if you mount the binoculars on a tripod or hold them perfectly still, the actual platform (yacht) is moving and these even slight movements will cause the magnified image to be too hard to actually see your subjects clearly. You can use 7×50, 8×42 binoculars easily on the yacht, or even 10×42 but 16×50 would not be recommended. We hope this helps.

      Adam Murray, Procular
      1. Hi Adam,

        Thanks for your reply, is 10×42 the absolute maximum magnification that could be used on a boat?



        1. Yes, that is correct.

          Adam Murray, Procular
  4. hello there! thank you for your wisdom.
    I have a beach house in Portugal 200 meters from the sea. I have a top terrace and i can see the surf from up there. I wanted to buy some binoculars to spot the morning and afternoon surf as well as star gaze the sky at night. What type of waterproof and fog proof binoculars would you recommend?
    thank you so much in advance

    1. Hi Alvaro,

      Thank you for your email. The best model we can suggest for a reasonable price would be the Avalon 10×42 PRO HD binoculars. They are outstanding all-around binoculars with the right magnification to view the surf from 200+ meters during all weather conditions. They are 100% waterproof and fog-proof and future excellent quality optics. Details below:×42-pro-hd-binoculars-black/

      You can use them to see the moon and basic star gazing but they are not astronomy binoculars. Astro binoculars are much larger and bulkier and not ideal for seeing the surf unless you are using a tripod. In this case you can go for high powered binoculars mounted on a tripod, like the Celestron 25×70 below:×70-skymaster-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  5. I’m looking for a budget pair for lake cruising we need to spot market bouy numbers from a fair distance away to avoid running off course as we are novices

    1. Hi Ron,

      Thank you for your message. We can recommend the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars. They are very easy to handle on the water (single handed), offer an exceptional image quality for their price and are 100% waterproof and fog-proof. They will be ideal for spotting the bouy numbers. Details below:×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  6. I am looking for a light weight waterproof pair of binoculars to carry on my sea kayak for spotting wildlife what do you recommend

    1. Hi Janet,

      As lightweight waterproof binoculars for the sea kayak we highly recommend the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD Binoculars. They have an outstanding image quality for their price range. These are compact (but not TOO compact to limit your view), 100% waterproof and fog-proof, and very easy to use. They have the perfect magnification and field of view for use over the water without image shakiness. They are also excellent to use single handed, so you can hold on to the kayak with your other hand while viewing. You can read more about the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD Binoculars, including a demo video, specs and customer reviews here:×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  7. Hello,

    Congratulations on your excellent and most useful website!

    I am a river/harbour pilot and I am looking for a pair of binoculars to carry with me onto ships for spotting (lit) channel buoys up to a couple of miles away. Going onto strange ships which often have old or strangely adjusted binoculars I want to carry my own. Most of the time I can use my naked eye but sometimes at dusk/dawn or in rain they can be difficult to spot. They would be used both at night and in the day.

    Apart from the above requirement I would like a compact and lightweight pair that I can put in my (inside) coat pocket and/or around my neck, they need to be waterproof as I do get splashed and I am not looking to spend a fortune as at some point I will probably drop them or leave them on a ship.

    I have a few pairs jotted down but just wondered if you could recommend any.

    Many thanks!


    Andy Bradbury
    1. Hi Andy,

      As you probably know 7x or 8x is the maximum magnification you can use onboard. If you are after a relatively compact pair to keep in your coat pocket but still be able to see during low light conditions, then your best bet would be 8×32. In specific we can recommend the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD Binoculars. They are 100% waterproof and fog-proof, have good low light performance for their small size and exceptionally good value and ease of use. We have plenty of personal experience using them onboard boats and ships, and they work well in these environments. You will not achieve the same brightness as with full size 7×50 marine binoculars but they do come close – and they are much much smaller, lighter and viewer friendly. Durability and image quality are superb for their price. You can read more about the Avalon 8×32 Mini HD binoculars here:×32-mini-hd-binoculars/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  8. Do you think a Bushnell 9×32 monocular would be good for yacht racing? I need to pick out a distant buoy sooner than my naked eye allows.

    1. Hi Greg,

      With the Bushnell monocular you will be able to pick out a distant buoy. The problem is though that your field of view is limited and because you are in a fast moving (and shaking) environment it might take you quite a while to achieve a stable image and to locate the buoy with this monocular.

      It will work but won’t be the ideal solution. We would tend towards a pair of very compact waterproof binoculars instead. Simply because they are much quicker to spot your target right away. We can therefore recommend the Bushnell H2O 8×25 binoculars. They are compact, foldable, only 281 grams and 100% waterproof. They also have a very nice image for their price thanks to their BAK-4 prisms. Details below:×25-h2o-compact-binocular/

      Adam Murray, Procular
  9. How far can you identify fish species (Bream or tailor….) with 7x magnification

    thomas elamal
    1. Hi Thomas, this is a very good question. If you are watching a school of fish on a clear day using a 7×50 binocular you can identify species from up to 1 mile (roughly). But there are a few elements to take into consideration such as the glare over the water, the size of the fish i.e. area where the fish are swimming, if they are silver/black and how much light there is – sunny day vs. foggy or rainy conditions. This is where the quality of your optics really come into play! We always recommend Fujinon binoculars for marine use because they have the maximum light intake in the industry. Up to 95%. This gives you a brighter image that helps you see in better details. Especially in poor light. In any case 7×50 binoculars will always be the ideal choice because you will not be able to achieve a stable image with anything stronger than that. You can look at the Fujinon 7×50 Mariner (×50-wp-xl-mariner-binoculars/). One more note, if you can afford the image stabilised binoculars like the Techno-Stabi 14×0 mentioned in this review, you will be able to see and identify fish from even further away and in more detail. They stabilise the image perfectly and are designed for marine use and use over high waves where it is difficult to use any other binoculars. We hope this helps. Any questions about the binoculars please fee free to let us know.

      Adam Murray, Procular
  10. Regarding the fujinon 7×50 wpc-xl…can /are the eye pieces able to be independently focused?

    1. Hi Allan,

      Yes, the eye-pieces on the Fujinon 7×50 WPC-XL binoculars can be individually focused. This is a nice and also common feature in marine binoculars.

      Adam Murray, Procular

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