Teach Your Expensive Shades to Swim

2011-07-23_18-43-51_138If you’ve ever lost a pair of $200 sunglasses in the ocean, then you know that sinking feeling I once did. Refusing to let it happen again, I looked around in the area surf shops for something that would keep my next pair of sunglasses afloat, but it appears the idea is “lost” in the beachwear world. With an hour and about $20, one can save that pair from the turbulent surf.

According to medical sources (#1, #2) sunglasses can protect the eyes from UV light and prevent cataract formations. Around water the eyes get bombarded from below as well as above, so polarized lenses can help to not only protect the eyes, but also enable one to monitor the water more closely.

This solution offers floating sunglasses, but beware; I would only wear them when dealing with light duty (playing with small children in shallow water, riding on boats, etc.). I would not rely on this setup for skiing, windsurfing, or surfing.

What you need:

  • 1 shoestring or lanyard-style sunglasses strap. (foamy ones like Croakies will not work) (#1, #2)
  • 6 yellow foam earplugs (available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc)
  • 1 1/8” drill bit
  • 1 1/4” drill bit
  • 1 pair of pliers
  • 1 drill

The object here is to thread the earplugs down the thin sunglasses strap. In order to create a hole, grab the earplug along it’s long, curved edges, and hold the plug on a workbench, vertically. With the smaller drill bit, create a hole through the long axis of the earplug. If that hole is not big enough to slide onto the strap, use a larger bit to open the hole a bit more. Sunglasses come in different weights, but usually 6 floats will do. Be sure to spread them evenly, and test in a sink, bathtub, or pool before hitting the surf!