Why write about Sea Sickness?
I decided to write this blog for our website due to the overwhelming amount of questions I have received regarding sea sickness prevention and questions regarding whether a yacht charter would be best for a particular person prone to this. I have heard many of times of how someone got so sick on a ship or boat and they never went on a yacht again. This is absurd and is result of a lack of understanding of sea sickness and its causes. Many of our yacht charter inquires will tell me that they got sick on a cruise ship and are even more concerned about a smaller boat to that of a large cruise ship. “Don’t sweat it!” Chances are you will be less likely to get sick on one of our yachts than a large cruise ship. Cruise ships, keep you inside a lot, feed you a lot of food, and serve you as much alcohol as you can. These things will all amplify the chances of getting sick as I will further explain later in this post. It’s rare for sailing customers of Blue Ocean Yacht Charters in Key West to experience sea sickness. Our captains prepare each yacht charter customer for sea sickness to prevent it from occurring. If you are prone to sea sickness or have concerns, following these important tips that will significantly decrease your chances of this experience while on the ocean.
What is Sea Sickness?
Sea sickness or motion sickness is a physiological response that takes place when the brain gets different information from its sensory system. This typically happens when the eyes do not see movement and the ears sense it. The mismatch of information overloads the brain and the brain tries to recover by making you sick to awake you of this problem taking place. Motion sickness can happen just about anywhere, such as the car, airplane, train, amusement park, or just about anything that is moving. In our company’s case, people experience sea sickness on a yacht. It can happen even in calm waters. Some charter customers think that the ocean needs to be rough, and this is not the case. Understanding what sea sickness is and what can trigger it, will significantly reduce your chances of being ill while out on a sailboat or yacht when on charter.
Guidelines to Prevent Motion Sickness or Sea Sickness
Do not drink excessive amounts of alcohol the night before your yacht charter
Feeling “hung over” is the worse feeling no matter where you are at. Couple this with motion on a boat, and you double your chances of getting sick. Alcohol decreases your sleep and dehydrates you. Plenty of sleep and water are critical to limiting your chances of sea sickness on a sailing charter as I will further explain below.
Be well rested before setting sail
Missing sleep and feeling exhausted make you more susceptible to factors that can cause sea sickness on a yacht.
Take Antiemetic drugs
A variety of medications are available to help prevent or treat motion sickness. Medicines for nausea are called antiemetic drugs. They include antihistamines such as Bonine and Dramamine — available over the counter — and scopolamine drugs, which come in pill or patch form and require a prescription. These drugs work by altering the information that the brain perceives. The medication is best taken or applied prior to your sailing charter. Once you feel ill, these medications are typically not as effective to counter the effects of motion sickness. Please follow all instructions before taking these medications and always consult a doctor before taking or if you have any questions.
Get fresh air
If you are feeling seasick, it is often helpful to go out on the open deck of the boat or at the helm of the yacht and look toward the horizon. Doing so helps your eyes “see” the motion, which will then send signals to the brain more in alignment with what the inner ear is “telling” the brain.
Forget about it
Try to engage yourself in an activity, such as sailing and running the boat, that gets your mind off of being ill. When sailing, you are required to pay attention to the winds and sails, at the same time steering the yacht. “Skippering” the yacht will take your mind off of feeling ill by giving you something to do, gets you into the breeze, and looking at the horizon. Also try not to focus on the motion, and pay attention to what you are doing. Your brain will naturally be OK if your ears sense what your eyes see.
Keep your body cool
Try to position yourself in the breeze and avoid direct sun exposure while on the vessel. Keeping cool will minimize sweating and water loss. The yacht charter will also be more enjoyable without a sunburn. Staying plenty hydrated will enable your body to function properly and also reduce this possibility of getting sea sickness.
Find a seat mid ship and near the water line if the helm is not available
The side-to-side sway and the up and down ‘seesaw’ pitch motion of the ship is minimized in the middle of the boat. If the vessel is very large, such as a cruise ship, you might want to request a room with a window so that you can easily look out on the horizon. The worse place for you to go if feeling ill is to one of the bedrooms on the boat. Usually the bedrooms are not at the mid-ship of the vessel and are a lot times forward the ship where the most motion can take place. Furthermore if you close your eyes, you are making things worse for your brain. Its best to sit up, get cool in the middle of the boat, near the water line, and watch the horizon.
The best foods are light and bland, such as saltine crackers, plain bread, or pretzels. Having some food in your stomach is better than having an empty stomach, but be careful not to eat too much. Also, you might want to sip some ginger ale: Ginger is a well-known natural remedy for motion sickness. Peppermint also may have calming effects on the stomach.
Wear an acupressure wristband
These wristbands apply pressure to a point on the wrist, generally where you wear a watch. Many people find the pressure helps them avoid nausea, one of the symptoms of sea sickness. You can find acupressure wristbands such as SEA –BANDS in some pharmacies, or order them from online stores such as Amazon. Sea-Bands are a knitted elasticated wristband that works because of a plastic knob sewn into the side of the inside of the wrist-band which exerts pressure and stimulates the P6, or Nei-Kuan, acupressure point. It has been proven that pressure on this point relieves nausea and vomiting.
Avoid stimuli that can trigger nausea
Nausea is a hallmark of seasickness. Any stimulus that triggers nausea can aggravate seasickness symptoms. Triggers include eating greasy foods, spicy foods, acidic foods such as citrus fruits and juices, and large meals. Avoiding alcohol helps because, as a diuretic, alcohol speeds up dehydration and can lower your body’s resistance to motion sickness, especially if you are prone to it. Steer clear of any noxious odors and other people on the boat who are vomiting from motion sickness.
Throw Up—Just Do It
This may sound bad, but if you are feeling like you are going to throw up, don’t fight it. It’s better to get out of your stomach what could be triggering the sickness and start over again. Never go into the ships bathroom or head to throw up. This will intensify the sickness even more as a result of potential odors, not being able to see the horizon, and they are typically warm places on the yacht with no air flow. Always throw up over the side of the yacht holding on carefully and make sure your back is to the wind so it doesn’t blow back on you or your friends on the boat. Keep your eyes fixated on the horizon will help during this process.
Blue Ocean Yacht Charters–Proven success!
At Blue Ocean Yacht Charters in Key West, Florida, we educate all our sailing charter customers on sea sickness prevention. As a result of this we have little or no episodes of sea sickness, except for those that don’t follow these guidelines. All of our overnight yacht charters find a well-protected area of the ocean, such as an island or patch of mangroves to protect the ship from wind and movement. If you are one that has not went back to a boat after experiencing sea sickness, and this blog has not convinced you otherwise to go back, you may want to call Blue Ocean Yacht Charters at 305-923-4152 to discuss all options. Blue Ocean Yacht Charters offers the possibility of staying overnight on a yacht at the marina while it is tied to the dock. There is little or no movement on all our boats at the marina. This will allow you to get plenty of rest to enjoy a day excursion, whether it is a half day excursion, full day boat cruise, or just a two hour sunset sail. Click here for your next yacht charter quote, free of Sea Sickness. Blue Ocean Yacht Charters in Key West, Florida will make your next yacht rental vacation a lifetime memory.
(Charter Booker, manages Blue Ocean Yacht Charters in Key West and writes many of the company’s blogs. Charter Booker has extensive experience both on the water and off the water helping customers experience the best possible yacht charter for many years now. Charter Booker carries American Sailing Association certifications and has extensive knowledge of boat safety and regulations. Call 305-923-4152 and ask for “Charter Booker” when booking your next yacht charter with Blue Ocean Yacht Charters in Key West.)