You have clicked on this article so perhaps you too suffer from sea or motion sickness. I know this feeling better then most, I am a keen fisherman who has suffered from seasickness for many years. I have somewhat become a comical joke amongst mates who find it quite amusing. Does this sound familiar to you? You have planned an outing on the bay all week and you’re super excited to hit the water. However shortly after being on the boat your day is ruined with seasickness. You feel nauseous, dizzy and your body temperature rises. Before you know it you have forgotten all about the fishing and are clinging to the side of the boat throwing up overboard. At this stage, all you can think about is how to convince the others to take you back to shore.
Seasickness can also become a mental challenge. For many years I refused to buy a kayak or boat fearful that I wouldn’t be able to use them properly. I avoided amazing fishing trips fearful that seasickness would ruin those events. Land base fishing is what I resorted to avoiding some amazing fishing opportunities. With planning and management I have become confident in hitting the water regularly.
What is seasickness?
What is motion sickness and why does it affect some people and not others. Motion sickness is simply a continuous unnatural movement that conflicts with your visual perception. Your brain and motion senses are a little conflicted. Your brain senses motion but your eyes see a still image. This generally causes dizziness, fatigue and discomfort which leads to nausea and vomiting. People with inner ear imbalances seem to be a lot more prone to these symptoms. But the good news is that it can be managed. I have tested and trailed just about every remedy under the sun and below will detail my success rates with medications, alternative therapies and general prevention.
Controlling seasickness with medications
The 2 main medications that I have used over the last couple of years are Travel calm and Kwells. Both of these can be purchased at your local chemist for around $10 a packet. Surprisingly I have had very different results with both these products.
Kwells for me has been a real game changer. Taking 2 Kwells pills 30 minutes prior venturing out to sea has completely changed my outlook on boating. I have now had countless trips with kwells without any seasickness. There has only been the very odd occasion where I felt mild nausea. To improve my percentages I also made sure that I applied the general ways to avoid seasickness documented below. I really recommend it to anyone who suffers motion or sea sickness.
Travel Calm original
For this I’m talking about the original Travel calm in the white and blue box. Not the other versions which are more ginger supplements. I have taken travel calm original in exactly the same fashion as Kwells 2 pills 30 minutes prior to hitting the water. However, Travel calm didn’t really do anything to help my seasickness. In fact, I can vividly recall the taste of throwing up travel calm on many occasions which weren’t pleasant. I do know others who have used it and had great success with both motion sickness and drowsiness. So might be one for you to test and see how it works for you.
Avomine are small circular tablets often used by those in the Navy. These are known to make you quite drowsy so you generally take one tablet the night before going out to sea. These to can be purchased directly from the chemist without a medical prescription. These are known to be great for seasickness, dizziness and vertigo but also used for those suffering from high anxiety. Personally I haven’t used these but wanted to mention it as AI know others who have used them to great effect.
As with all medications take some time to read the side effects and follow the necessary usage guidelines.
There are interesting alternative therapies available and after years of experimenting with them, I’m still not convinced on just how effective they are. The 2 main items I have trailed include magnetic pressure wrist bands and ginger.
Magnetic pressure travel wrist bands
I was recommended to give these a go by a chemist many years ago after having no success with travel calm. They were called Sea Band travel sickness kit and sold for about 20 dollars for 2 wrist bands. The science behind these wrist bands is to provide a medication free nausea prevention. This is done by applying a small amount of pressure on the Nei Kuan acupressure point on your wrist via a plastic stud in the wrist band. I was very sceptical of this concept at first but was very surprised that they somehow managed to work. For many years I have worn these wrist straps not knowing exactly how they work but confident that they are actually helping.
Another alternative therapy that comes up frequently is the usage of ginger root as a herbal remedy. There is no scientific evidence to show that this works but many naturopaths and herbal outlets will claim that it has calming properties that helps digestions and prevent nausea feelings. These can be taken as pills, powder and drinks. I tried on many occasions taking ginger pills before venturing out and found they did nothing for me other than tasting horrible when being thrown up overboard.
General ways to avoid seasickness
The below points are things that I do for every outing. When I skip one of these steps then I find that I’m a lot more prone to being seasick.
Preparation prior to your trip
It sounds obvious but you must simply avoid going out in rough, choppy conditions with high swells. Learn how to predict weather conditions by using online tools such as Meteye and Willysweather. Generally, I will not go out in conditions over 10 kilometre winds, and I will pay close attention to the wind direction and avoid unfavourable winds.
Develop good eating and drinking habits before going out to sea. I like to eat and drink lightly the night before. Enough to stay hydrated. Always avoid heavy drinking of alcohol the night before.
One thing I am adamant about is rigging up my fishing gear before venturing out. The main reason for this is to avoid the need to look down. For whatever reason looking down encourages nausea. Tying knots and rigs whilst your looking down and bouncing around is just bad news for motion sickness. When I have to do this I then generally spend the next 5 minutes looking straight at something in the distance to regain my composure. I also dress freely to allow the fresh air to make contact with my skin which seems to help greatly.
Get a good night sleep the night prior to going on a boat. This is a must as drowsiness seems to accelerate concentration levels, dizziness and seasickness. They collide and it’s not pleasant when they do. The best remedy is a good nights rest before going out. This is especially true for those who suffer from inner ear imbalance or headaches.
When on the water
Where possible be the driver of the vessel and not the passenger. Have you ever been car sick? was it when you were the passenger or the driver. In all my experiences and those that I have spoken with on this topic all agree that it’s generally when you were the passenger. It’s surprising but the same logic does apply when in you’re on a boat. I think for those with motion inbalance by being the driver you are gaining some level of control.
Where possibly avoid staring at your sounder or mobile phone for extended periods of time whilst at sea
Final notes from the author
All this advice will be from yours truly, someone who has suffered from seasickness for many years. I hope you find this article useful and encourage you to share your feedback and experiences by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org