Seasickness Prevention and Remedies – By Captain Jason Bailey

I’m often asked about seasickness and if you’ve ever been seasick, you can certainly understand why!

First, let’s talk about some of the causes of seasickness and factors that can exacerbate it. I once worked with a very well-respected Family Medicine MD, and we discussed this one day. In his opinion, medically speaking, as we age, our inner ear begins to change and declines in function and ability to process what we see and sense, with the signals that our inner ear sends to our brain. When there is a conflict between these messages, such as motion or rocking, it can induce nausea and ultimately seasickness.

That said, some people never get sick, some occasionally do, and others seem more susceptible to motion sickness, regardless of age or even time and experience on the water.

There are some other factors that can play into seasickness, and often make a person more prone to it such as:

*Dehydration

*Alcohol consumption the day or night prior to fishing or being on the water, which can obviously cause nausea in of itself, but also causes dehydration.

*Looking down and not at the horizon while on the water.   

*Certain fumes, such as diesel exhaust or other smells.

I’m a big proponent of a mariner mindset, that it’s better to have it and not need it, rather than need it and not have it. While there is no guaranteed or universal approach to not being overcome by motion sickness, what can you do to hopefully eliminate or at least minimize nausea while on the water?

Ginger. Long used to treat nausea, is a natural remedy and can be quite effective which researched and published studies have proven.  In fact, Dramamine for example, now produces a natural non-drowsy formula (see photo for reference) and you can find this in most pharmacies or drug stores. Ginger can also be found in teas, sodas, candy, cookies and other food sources that specifically add ginger.  Ginger lozenges or ginger gum can also be quite effective and are easy to bring along with you.

Products like Dramamine and Bonine have been around a long time. While they’re efficacy can be very good, they can make some individuals extremely drowsy, even when using a less drowsy formula.  What you might consider however, is taking one of these products the evening or night prior to your fishing trip just before bedtime. It’ll typically help you sleep, and it’ll be in your system the following day, usually without pronounced drowsiness.  Then, the morning of your day on the water, supplement it with the Dramamine natural formula containing ginger.   

Scopolamine.  Most commonly known as the patch, this option is placed behind your ear, usually the day or evening prior to being on the water and a prescription is needed. Although effective, it can induce some of the same side effects such as drowsiness as over the counter tablet forms of seasickness medications.

Sea-Band.  Sea Band manufactures small cloth wrist bands with a divot that are based on a pressure principle, essentially acupressure to ward off nausea.  They are washable and reusable and can also be found at some drug stores and pharmacies, or ordered online.  It’s worth noting, that Sea-Band also produces ginger gum and lozenge, which can also be ordered online.    

If at all possible, avoid vessel diesel fumes and exhaust.  You can do this by finding an area of the vessel that is either above an area where diesel exhaust might be present, or by positioning yourself on an outer deck, where the wind pushes any fumes in a different direction.  Keep in mind, retreating to the vessel cabin or galley to distance yourself from fumes as mentioned above, can have an opposite effect.  While it may solve one problem, it can easily create another for how you feel.     

As with any medications, consult your physician if you have concerns or need medical guidance, including any potential interactions with anything listed above, in relation to other medications, that you may be taking.

Captain Jason Bailey – Finchaser Sportfishing Morro Bay, CA & Top Anglers Sportfishing Cabo San Lucas

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