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How To Deal With Seasickness (Motion Sickness)         by Dave Reed


If you are like the millions of people that live in fear of seasickness or motion sickness you know just how debilitating this affliction can be. Wikipedia calls seasickness a form of motion sickness causing nausea and sometimes even vertigo experienced by spending extended time on the water in a rocking boat.

One big question asked by a lot of first time fishing customers or cruise ship guests is whether or not they might get seasick. I would like you to better understand seasickness and maybe even suggest a few thoughts on how you can deal with this issue ahead of scheduling your fishing trip.


Seasickness is actually just another name for motion sickness. An estimated 80% of all people will experience motion sickness in some form during their lifetime. Even NASA trained astronauts often require motion sickness medicine while they are training and in space. It is so common there is nothing to be ashamed of but unfortunately that’s not much comfort to the uncomfortable person hat is experiencing it.

Seasickness is caused by the body’s confusion of feeling one thing via its nervous system but seeing something entirely different then it is sensing. In rough water a boat rocks, rolls, pitches, and heaves. The signals sent to your brain by your eyes and inner ears conflict. This visual disorientation means that while your inner ear detects that you are moving your eyes detect that you're not. Your body feels conflicting senses that it just doesn’t understand. The body reacts by feeling unbalanced and unstable. This causes an entire host of symptoms including nausea, vertigo, headache, dizziness, and even mental panic. Someone once said, “No one ever died from seasickness” ....but when you are the one that's seasick you might bet otherwise. 

The level of severity of symptoms varies greatly in people. Some people actually will increase their own severity through nervous anticipation. Learning to deal with your seasickness is sometimes called getting your “sea legs.” It's my hope that by explaining what this is and how to deal with it I can encourage you not to let your nervous anticipation ruin a fishing opportunity.

Seasickness Precautions/Preparations:


There are some simple things that people can do for immediate on the spot help. If you begin to feel queasy avoid staying in an enclosed area like a salon. Remember, in an enclosed area your eyes are seeing four stable walls, a ceiling, and a floor but your body is feeling something entirely different. If you do have to stay inside an enclosed area at least try to stand or lean against something where you can see forward watching the outside horizon. You might also try laying in a comfortable place and just close your eyes and relax. As a veteran of many charter fishing trips, I normally start out by sleeping the entire way out until I became a bit more confident of my sea legs. 

Keep in mind that the least amount of slamming on a large fishing boat is normally going to be right at the boat’s transom. Portable boat chairs or even bean bag chairs can be set against transom facing forward during running. This will allow your sight the ability to see a better representation of what your body is feeling. 

Some people do far better when they see things from a higher vantage point so most captains always welcome guests on the bridge. If you are starting to have an issue it gives your senses a different perspective to work with. Also a conversation with the captain helps take your mind off your symptoms. Improvement in your physical location might just get you past your symptoms.


Natural Remedies:  

There are several more natural potential remedies for seasickness. Unfortunately these only seem to work for some people. Maybe if your problem isn't too severe you can find the right combination of home cures for your own situation.


Ginger seems to be one of the best known natural cures. Try a combination of things like ginger tea, Ginger Ale®, ginger cookies, and even homeopathic ginger pills before and during your trip. Ginger root powder capsules are available in health food stores and many people that have tried it swear by the powder.



If you tend to get motion sickness but aren't sure about seasickness always avoid caffeine and alcohol before and during fishing trips and cruises.


Sometimes eating salty crackers and drinking Coca Cola® seems to help some people and it can even act as a placebo when nothing else is available.


MotionEaze® is a natural oil can be applied behind the ear and is then absorbed through the skin. The manufacturer claims that it is also effective in circumstances where you may already be feeling nausea and it has no side effects.



Anti-nausea wristbands have a small plastic ball pressing against an acupressure point on your forearm. These failed me miserably but some people claim they work for them quite well.



The electronic Relief Band® is my favorite natural method. I have used and recommended this for years because this is the only natural method that actually works even after the person has already begun to show strong symptoms of seasickness. Read more about Relief Band [HERE].


Other Non-Prescription and Prescription Medicines:

The most common drugs are Dramamine®, Dramamine II®, Antivert®, and Bonine® which are all essentially antihistamines. They are available over-the-net or over-the-counter at most pharmacies. Antihistamines will make most people drowsy. Dramamine will almost certainly have that effect. Dramamine II and Bonine are non-drowsy formulas but they still put some people to sleep for a few hours. How do they help seasickness? Basically they deaden the senses and tend to lessen the whole fishing experience.

Scopolamine® (worn behind the ear like a tiny band-aid) is the most common prescribed drug for seasickness. Scopolamine® also comes in pill form. The strong patches last up to three days, provide time-release doses of the drug, and are usually very effective for preventing nausea. Unfortunately the side effects are somewhat severe and common in many people. They sometimes include extreme drowsiness, disorientation, bad taste and even blood pressure problems.






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