Here's a good rule for safety equipment: If the Coast Guard carries it, you should too. Take, for example, marine-grade binoculars. Steiner Commander XP 7x50 C binoculars ($1,199) offer high-definition viewing in low light and extremely bright conditions, thanks to what the manufacturer calls enhanced light transmission technology, which allows more light to pass through the lenses. An optical coating on the eyepieces called NANO Protection repels water and moisture. A built-in, illuminated, stabilized compass will help you take a bearing and estimate distance when you're rolling around in rough seas. The Commander XP also has an autofocus mechanism that is supposed to eliminate fussing with knobs when viewing something beyond 65 feet. Rugged and tightly sealed, the Commander XP is waterproof to a depth of 32 feet. The unit's floating strap accessory is a smart option to ensure that you never have to test out that feature.