Even though you can technically swim in the ocean without goggles, it’s not advised since the ocean's saltwater can burn your eyes and the cornea.
Why Wear Swim Goggles In the Ocean?
One of the main reasons you should wear swim goggles in the ocean is to protect your eyes. It’s not just the water you need protection from, but it’s also the salt in the ocean. When swimming in the ocean without swim goggles, you could end up with an infection, so it’s always better to be safe. Not only do swim goggles protect your eyes, but they also help keep water out of your eyes by forming a tight seal. Seawater can both dry out your skin and do the same for your eyes at the same time. If you spend the day swimming without swim goggles, then you will notice that your eyes can get irritated, itchy, and dry. When you probably won’t feel it much during your swim, you will notice it when you are on the way home. Swim goggles can help provide some UV protection. The sunlight makes it harder to see under and above the water when swimming in the open ocean water. You will find specific swim goggles designed for outdoor swimming to protect against the glare. Swim goggles can help you see clearer underwater, which can also be an essential safety feature. When you can see better underwater, you are less likely to swim into something dangerous or get injured.
Swim Goggles for Open Water Swimming
Swimming in the ocean is different than swimming in a pool. Seeing in the ocean's open water can be much harder than in the controlled pool environment. Several swim goggles are designed for open-water swimming to help reduce these challenges. These swim goggles help increase peripheral vision, have comfortable gaskets and straps, and offer crystal-clear lenses to make ocean swims more enjoyable and safer.
The swimmer's head position is a significant way that open water swimming in the ocean differs from lap swimming in the pool. An open water swimmer needs to regularly lift their head in order to see buoys, landmarks, guide boats, or the shore and to orient themselves. Swim goggles that have a wider lens and better peripheral vision make it easier to see so you can stay on course. The curved lens or wider-than-average lens provides an increased field of vision. There may even be a more snorkel mask-like design to be more hydrodynamic. Since open water is darker than well-lit and clean pool water, you may also want to find swim goggles with lightly tinted or clear lenses. You can also look for swim goggles with an anti-fog coating to reduce the amount of condensation that builds up during the swim. To learn more about keeping your swim goggles from fogging, our blog section has several great articles for you to read.
If you are going to be ocean swimming in bright sunlight, you can also find swim goggles mirrored lenses or lenses with added UV protection to help reduce glare. Ocean swimmers may swim for extended periods of time, so it’s necessary to have swim goggles with comfortable seals and gaskets. Stopping to adjust your swim goggles while swimming isn’t going to be as convenient in the ocean as it is in a pool. Swim goggles that have a soft silicone or rubber seal help distribute pressure over a bigger area for a better fit. The soft material gives a cushioned seal for extended comfort. The lenses should be comfortable, just as the straps are. Look for dual straps or wide straps to distribute pressure evenly across the head and still keep the swim goggles in place. Single straps may be less comfortable after hours in the water and can be moved out of place by the waves or head motion.
Prescription Swim Goggles for the Ocean
If you wear contacts to help you see better, you will definitely want swim goggles. This prevents you from losing your contacts since goggles keep water from causing the contacts to fall out or roll up behind the eyes. Many optometrists will advise you not to wear contacts when swimming since there is a risk of bacteria getting in your eyes. Swimming with your contacts can also lead to damage to the contacts. Saltwater can dry out the contacts, making them hard to remove if they don’t ruin them altogether. If you want to keep wearing your contacts, you should definitely have a pair of high-quality swim goggles. A better solution would be to get prescription swim goggles so you can still see underwater but don't have to worry about your contacts getting damaged or lost while in the water.