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Versatile Views

We've all been there: on a rocking boat trying to locate a marker number with a pair of binoculars. Enter Fujinon's Stabi Binoculars, which drastically improve stability and visibility at sea.

Seeing is believing, especially on the water. Following the chartplotter’s Yellow Brick Road only gets us so far. The rest—avoiding lobster pots, submerged logs and other boats—requires using the old-school method: our eyes.

I know, I know. “That’s so old-fashioned!” you might say. “How analog!” There’s technology now for just about everything we need on the water, from tracking the location of other boats to making sure we don’t end up high and dry. Many boats can practically run themselves. But what happens when things go south?

On a recent cruise with Deputy Editor Capt. Bill Pike and Executive Editor Jeff Moser, we ran into a pickle where the chartplotter data was incorrect at a critical juncture between the ICW and the St. Johns River. Capt. Bill’s blood pressure rose as the depth readings plummeted.

Wanting to be helpful, but not get in the way, I took out the Fujinon Techno Stabi TS1440 Binoculars ($1,000) and switched on their stabilization tool. Immediately, I read off the closest buoy numbers. As the boat bobbed in the light chop, my view of the buoys was clear, bright and steady. The numbers were correct, but their locations were significantly off compared to the chartplotter.

Fujinon, a division of Fujifilm, has been making binoculars for decades. The company is a trusted military supplier, and for good reason: Their products are high quality and reliable when you need them most. The Techno Stabi binoculars, which come in a compact 12x28 version and a larger, 14x40 version (we tested the larger ones), are built for rough days at sea.

The waterproof seals and sturdy hand strap gave me peace of mind when moving about the boat. The stabilization feature can be switched on or off, which came in handy on our trip down the ICW. When focusing on a single buoy, a submerged object or a bird perched on shore, the stabilization proved immensely useful. But when panning around for views, the stabilization’s slight lag time made me feel a little seasick. It wasn’t a bother, though, because I just switched it off and used them like regular binoculars.

With the help of the binoculars and a friendly passing vessel, we made it through the navigational pickle without a scratch. Capt. Bill’s blood pressure returned to normal and I resumed bird watching. For the rest of our trip, the Techno Stabi binoculars were never more than a reach away. 

This article originally appeared in the May 2019 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.