Radians Magnifier Glasses click here to read or make an observation about this  article
Review by Jack Panter - Victoria B.C. Canada

I notice from time to time that folks send in a note about products they find useful for boat building and boating activities. I thought I would pass along some information about these glasses.

I actually was interested in the sunglasses they make for riding on my motorcycle, but let me explain. It seems as I get older my arms are getting shorter. I heard an old fella once say he was not half the man he used to be. He didn’t look much shorter than he did when I knew him years ago but I noticed that to read anything he had to hold the paper out at arms length. His arms were evidently shorter. I find I have the same problem now. When I was kid I must have had arms like a gorilla. I can distinctly remember reading books and magazines with my arms bent! Not anymore. Nothing comes into focus until it is at arms length and by then it is way too small to see clearly.

Several years ago I finally broke down and started buying those “cheater” magnifying glasses they sell at the drug store for about ten bucks. Trouble is I could never get used to keeping them handy so I keep losing them all over the house. I have them by the computer, by the telephone, on the dash of the car and several pairs littering the benches in my work shop.

I sometimes go on motorcycle poker runs and rallies. You have to follow maps and directions to do this and the procedure is usually to tape the map or the details of the rally route to the top of the bike’s gas tank and go. In my case I’d have to memorize as much as I could and then have to stop occasionally to find my reading glasses and see where to go next. A real pain; and a bit dangerous too at times when it is hard to find a safe place out of traffic to pull over conveniently. When I saw these sun glasses for motorcycles with the built in close up lenses ….just like bifocals … I figured they would be great for my motorcycle rides. They are indeed!

Now as it turns out I also just bought a nice handheld GPS with colour mapping to use on my boat this summer and I also have a handheld VHF radio. Frankly I can’t read the little scripts on the buttons of either of these things without having to grab my reading glasses. I can just see how it would be every time I want to check my location or make a radio call I’d have to remove my sun glasses and find my reading glasses to use the equipment and then take them off to put my sunglasses back on …all of which would mean running blind for a few minutes ….which you don’t want to do at planning speed in our local debris strewn waters. It’s hard to keep a lookout peering over the top of a pair of reading glasses in a bit of blow in a small boat. I’ll be using these magnifier glasses aboard the boat every time I head out.

These magnifier glasses come in both dark tinted and clear. I am about to start building a boat in my shop …if I can ever get it cleaned up and two other projects out the door. The other day I was using my circular saw and had to keep switching back and forth between safety goggles and reading glasses when I suddenly realized that the glasses I bought for the motorcycle would be just the thing for the shop. I tried the tinted ones and they work great. They have a good wrap around to keep flying sawdust out of your eyes and at the same time give a clear view both up close and at a distance….don ‘t fog up like the safety glasses tend to do either. Now I have bought some clear magnifier glasses as well so I don’t have to keep putting them on and taking them off as I work inside the shop. I don’t get as much stuff in my eyes either when using the saw or router!

I figure I have about $100 worth of regular “cheater” glasses around …somewhere…they are always out of reach or out of sight when you need them. The $42 (plus shipping) spent on these glasses has proven to be a good investment in both safety and convenience.

These are available from: www.whitehorsepress.com (in the accessories/gear section) who supply stuff to motorcyclists along with a bunch of other light weight compact things that might be useful on small boats. In fact, I think that the freedom we get in small boats is a bit akin to the freedom of riding a motorcycle. Bike camping is a bit like beach cruising so no surprise some of the camping gear might be similar. I use some marine stuff as part of my motorcycle gear just as some folks use hiker’s equipment on their boats.

So…in conclusion, if you also suffer from a reduced reach or are similarly optically challenged you might take a look at these glasses. They might just make life a bit more comfortable and safe for you.