DEALING WITH MOTION
Whenever the British naval
hero Admiral Nelson encountered a seasick sailor, he suggested his own foolproof
remedy: "You'll feel better if you sit under a tree." Not
bloody likely to find one on the bay though.
The first step in dealing
with any ailment is understanding what is wrong so that you can rationally deal
with the problem.
Understanding the problem:
Seasickness happens when
the body, inner ear, and eyes all send different signals to the brain, resulting
in confusion and queasiness. It is a problem generally attributed to disturbance
in the balance system of the inner ear. Your sensory perception gets out of
synch as these nerve fibers attempt to compensate for the unfamiliar motion of
the ship moving through water.
The visual stimulus
contradicts the inner-ear as the eyes report things like cabin walls and furniture
in such a way that the brain's sense of stability is confused. The brain is being told by the eyes that
the world is stable, while the inner-ear is screaming that it's not.
Some foods should be
avoided: anything greasy, rich, or pungent. A rule of thumb is: things
which make your stomach feel uneasy on land will make it feel much worse on a
rolling and pitching boat. Doctors strongly recommend that alcohol not be
consumed by anyone who is prone to seasickness, as it affects the function of
Some Helpful Tips:
Some things to remember - fresh
air is good and you want to stay low, centered, and to the stern of the boat.
That is where you will encounter the least motion. The bow of the boat pounds
through the waves, up and down; the stern slips through the water parted by the
bow. The ride is much smoother. The boat rocks from side to side, but the center
of the boat rocks the least. The higher you are the more movement you encounter.
So, you want to be low, to the stern, and close to the centerline, but in the
Look at the horizon and
try to get your balance. Take some deep breaths. Rock your shoulders back and
forth. Realize that your body is probably tight and stiff. Try and roll with the
boat instead of sub-consciously stiffening up and fighting the motion. It's
called getting your sea legs. Try to take your mind off how bad you feel
and focus on something else. Remember, the first step to controlling seasickness
is to realize what is wrong with you and deal with that, not concentrate on how
sick you are.
If you begin to feel sick:
1. Focus your eyes on the
2. Try to stay in fresh air
3. Apply cold packs or ice to the eyes & neck
4. Avoid spicy or greasy food and acidic juices and sodas.
5. Avoid strong odors
6. Take slow, deep breaths
7. Don't read or look at instruments
8. Eat frequent small quantities of soda crackers
Preventing Sea Sickness:
There are several good
medications on the market. One highly effective choice is the scopolamine patch
by Transderm Scop. It is a prescription medication but usually easy to obtain
with a simple call to your doctor. Dry mouth is a usual side effect, but that is
true with most all seasickness medications.
over-the-counter drugs are Dramamine, Dramamine II, Marezine, and Bonine, which
are essentially antihistamines available at most pharmacies. Antihistamines will
make most people drowsy. Dramamine II and Bonine are "non-drowsy"
formulas but they still have some effect. Bonine seems to be one of the most
To be effective you should
take the first pill 8 hours before you board the boat. If possible sleep on it;
that way, it's in your system and working when you wake up. Take more
before you board the boat.
There is some evidence to
suggest that ginger has a beneficial effect on motion sickness. It appears
the gastrointestinal tract rather than the central nervous system.
The usual recommended
dosage is about a gram.
Some ginger drinks may work well to settle your stomach: Smooth
Sailing (Smooth Sailing Beverage Co. 851
Coho Way Bellingham WA 98225-2066 360-671-0604) or Reed's Ginger Brew
- 17 grams per bottle (Reed's Inc. 13000 South Spring St. Los Angeles, CA 90061
Combining ginger and
antihistamines can work well.
Solutions to mild
seasickness include eating saltine crackers and drinking cola or ginger ale.
Better be safe, than Sorry:
If you're not sure how you
will react to the motion of the ship, then taking one of the medications
described above is a great idea. It's better to play it safe, if you can't
find a tree.