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Tips to getting rid of sea sickness

Even seasoned mariners get sea sick. A study of 450 sailors (surveyed during the ARC Rally in 2017), found that at least 90% had been seasick at some point. 26% of competitors surveyed during the 2015 ARC said they were sea sick at least once during the Atlantic crossing.

On top of this, 57% of those affected use some kind of remedy or preventative strategy.

So what works? And what doesn’t? Here’s what we found.

The power of the mind is strong

It may sound cliché, but a big part of being sea sick is mental. Many people report feeling seasick, even at the sight of boats, or smell of marine fuel, which indicates a trigger in the brain beyond the movement of waves.

With this in mind, mariners suggest using positive self-talk before hitting the water. Stare in the mirror and repeat 3 times, ‘I don’t get sea sick.’ It’s easy, and can certainly make a big difference.

Stare at the horizon

Most people know this one, but that’s only because it’s effective. Sometimes it can be easy to stare right at the waves, and get caught up in the choppy motion. Instead, keep your eyes trained on the horizon.

Staring at something that is still will help to rebalance your equilibrium. When everything around you is rocking, this can be your saving grace.

Get fresh air

We mentioned before that the smell of marine fuel can trigger sea sickness in some people? Well smell is actually a trigger in general, especially bad ones. So get in the fresh air and away from anything that could make your sea sickness worse.

Consider keeping your quarters clean to avoid unpleasant smells. And stay up on deck, rather than inside so that fresh air (and the horizon) can work to your advantage.

Watch what you eat

Over-eating will almost certainly worsen or fast track your sea sickness. Avoid high fat and high sugar foods, as they will swirl around your stomach like the waves below. However, some sailors swear by chewing gum and eating sweets, so give this a try to see if it works for you.

Many sailors say ginger gum is useful (or ginger tea), as well as carrot juice, citrus, mints, prunes and apricot juice. It goes without saying that alcohol is not your friend on board.

Medication

Anti-nauseants such as Travacalm and Kwells are common sea sick medications available from pharmacies over the counter. Be careful, as most contain anti-histamines, which can also make you drowsy. This is not ideal, and can even be unsafe, especially if you’re working on a boat.

If you don’t want to feel drowsy, ask your pharmacist for a non-drowsy alternative. You may need to try a few different options before finding one that works for you.

Wrist bands

There are two kinds of anti-sea sickness wrist bands – magnetic and acupressure. These are also available from most pharmacies, and are said to offer natural relief from sea sickness, without side effects. The Sea Band brand retails for around $18 (AUD).

The Sea Band uses acupressure, and can be worn before your journey starts (as a preventative measure) or once you’ve hit the water.

Get rid of part of your brain

Okay, we don’t recommend this one, but it sure is interesting. A 2003 University Study by Hoffer discovered that by removing part of a dog’s brain. motion sickness stopped. They also think kids under 2 don’t get motion sick, because they haven’t developed this section of the brain yet.

Seriously, this operation hasn’t even been performed on humans yet, so it’s not even an option really. But fascinating nonetheless.

Need insurance?

We can’t really cure your sea sickness, but we can cover your vessel. If you’d like a free quote, please get in touch. We offer marine insurance for recreational and commercial purposes.

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Yachting World