Updated on April 11, 2022
One of the few things that is universally understood to be a sure sign of a bad time is the sight of a person bent over the railing of a boat. Seasickness is a fickle occurrence, with some going unfazed even in the worst weather, while others are struck by it during a windy day at the lake. To better understand what seasickness is and the best ways to prevent and mitigate the effects, we took a deep dive and laid it all out.
Seasick, carsick, and airsick are all contextual names given to motion sickness for each type of travel. Motion sickness happens when there is a conflict between what you see, feel, and what the balance mechanism in your inner ear is telling your brain. When you are in the cabin of a boat, your surroundings look like they are not moving, but your muscles are flexing to adjust for waves, making your balance constantly change. When signals do not align, your brain becomes confused and starts causing symptoms.
Seasickness symptoms include nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, dizziness, and excessive salivation. Fortunately, people have been aware of motion sickness for hundreds of years and have discovered a variety of ways to prevent or mitigate the symptoms and discomfort.
One of the best preventative measures you can take is to eat a light meal and get hydrated before your trip. This will settle your stomach, and make sure your brain and body stay fueled and continue to function normally. If you know you’re particularly susceptible to getting seasick, try over the counter drugs like Dramamine, Benadryl, or Antivert before you head out. If it’s something you deal with often, prescriptions medications like Scopoline and Promethazine might be the answer. Be cautious, however, when taking any of these medications, because they can make you drowsy. Sleeping through a fishing trip doesn’t seem very cost effective.
If you start feeling the onset of symptoms, there are some things you can do to quickly regain control before becoming ill. Eating raw ginger may help with nausea or an upset stomach, but it in raw form can be very potent, so moderation is key. Consuming mint or peppermint is thought to have a similar effect, and as an added bonus, the aroma can help to calm your mind. A more direct method for addressing seasickness is to make sure you can see outside, focus on the horizon, and slow your breathing. This should help the signals going to your brain make sense and calm down, which should lessen or resolve your symptoms.
While you’re out on the water, there are some things to steer clear of, because they run a higher chance of messing with your senses. Reading or focusing on close, stable objects can quickly create mixed signals in your brain. Alcohol impacts cognitive function, balance, and can give you an upset stomach. All of these effects will only make seasickness happen faster if you’re sensitive, so it’s best to avoid it.
Learning what solutions are most effective at solving your seasickness will take a few tries, but once you figure it out, you’ll be glad you did. The key things you can do to prevent seasickness are eating a light meal and getting hydrated well before heading out on your trip. Make sure you avoid things that affect any of your senses, like reading and consuming alcohol.
If you want to go the more natural route, keep raw ginger and mint on hand if you start feeling unsettled. If you want a more popular go-to remedy, find a seasickness medication that works for you, without making you too drowsy. If things take a turn for the worse, find a spot where you can get your bearings, focus on the horizon, and control your breathing. Using these solutions can help you be more comfortable and make the most of your offshore trip.