Floating sunglasses for boating - what a great concept. If you spend time around the water then you know how important sunglasses are for seeing through the sun's glare and reflection on the water. Especially for sailing and fishing you always need to look up at the sun to trim your sails and at the water’s surface to see what’s below.
Sunglasses for boating are very important but unless you have some kind of strap or tether for your shades, there’s a good chance that you can lose them if they get knocked off or get blown overboard. If you’re wearing expensive sunglasses or they’re your favorite ones that would be a real bummer. So floating sunglasses would seem to be an obvious requirement for boaters.
Floating sunglasses are actually nothing new. Many sunglasses brands offer floating sunglasses now and we would venture to say that any brands of sunglasses pitched to boaters should only be ones that float. It’s easy to make things float. Just make the frames out of a material that is lighter than the water that is displaced. Most companies do this with cheap lightweight plastic or hollowed out plastic frames. Plastic is such a big part of our lives now and since everything around us is made of plastic we don’t even think twice about it. It’s also very cheap to make things out of plastic. Those floating plastic sunglasses that cost $50 are mass produced in a mold that probably costs less than a dollar to make. Wow, those plastic sunglass companies have got us all fooled.
Floating sunglasses for boating are an essential thing to have out on the water but what if you’re sailing or fishing and they fall overboard in open water and float away? That’s nice that they float but you’re not always going to want to jump in the water after them. Poseidon might want to wear them now if he likes your style but… probably not. Poseidon is not a fan of plastic. Plastic junk that ends up in the ocean will be there for a very very long time. Sea creatures will try to eat it and die. Plastic pollution in the ocean is a serious problem now. Nylon, which is one of the most common types of plastic could take 500 years to break down in the ocean. In that process it will eventually be broken down into micro plastics that will be eaten by sea life and ultimately end up in the food supply and in our bodies. Plastic pollution in the ocean is just as much of a bummer as losing your sunglasses and as ocean lovers we should want to do something about it.
Floating sunglasses for boating don’t have to be made out of plastic. Do you know what else floats? Wood! And bamboo, which is actually a type of grass but let’s not get technical. You can make things out of bamboo and wood just easily as plastic and not only do they float, they’re biodegradable. Eventually the frames will break down into toothpicks and then salty wood mulch, which is probably a little better than plastic for the environment, don’t you think?
Ah, but what about the lenses? Those lenses look like plastic. Well, there’s actually a few ways to make optical lenses and we have a page on that. The cheapest way is also the way that adds plastic to the ocean. The way that has the best combination of optical quality and durability is also one of the most environmentally friendly: TAC, which stands for Tri-Acetate Cellulose. TAC is an optical grade photographic film that is essentially made from cotton with other layers of biodegradable materials. You could make sunglasses with glass lenses too but they’d be harder to put in wood frames and would be a little heavier and might not float. TAC is the way to go.
Check out the Lani Shades collection of wood and bamboo floating UV400 polarized sunglasses for boaters. Lani Shades was founded by sailors and ocean lovers in Hawaii and all our sunglasses have been float tested in the waters of Hawaii. I actually lost a pair once in the Kaiwi Channel between O’ahu and Molokai. The water was too rough to jump in after them so I watched them float away… and now Poseidon is looking stylish these days.