The answer to this is a resounding "Yes!" Marine Binoculars (AKA Glasses) should never be considered a "nice to have" item. Most mariners would never consider leaving the dock without a VHF radio aboard, likewise binoculars should be considered as another piece of equipment that plays an important role in both navigation and safety.
Binoculars provide assistance to the captain, navigator, and crew by allowing them to clearly make out navigational aids such as buoys and daymarks. They also allow for spotting and identifying objects such as: ships or other vessels, approaching weather, landmarks, and hazards. So common sense seems to dictate that a good pair of marine binoculars should be aboard every boat.
Trying to decide on which pair of marine binoculars to buy is a job in itself. With all the different manufacturers, features, and marketing hype it can be a daunting task to select a pair of binoculars that meet your requirements and can withstand the environment in which they will be used. When you couple that with the price of high quality binoculars being what it is, buying the right pair the first time around is important.
The upside to all of this is that when you purchase a quality pair of marine binoculars and give them reasonable care, they will provide you with a lifetime of service. Each buyer knows what price is within their budget, that being said we will avoid using price as a factor other than to say prices range from dirt cheap to take your breath away expensive.
In the following pages we will talk about the different qualities that make up a good pair of marine binoculars and provide you a simple check list of what to look for.