Don’t let seasickness put you off going sailing!
The threat of seasickness is one of the main worries we get asked about. We have decided on our top ten ways to avoid falling foul to the motion of the ocean.
Why does it happen?
For a large percentage of the population it takes a while for their eyes and ears to realise they are no longer on solid land. This can lead to feeling just generally unwell and for some induces nausea. It will either pass when you get into the shelter of port or an anchorage or within a couple of days of a longer passge. There are things that are going to help but its for many its just part of the journey.
You are not alone! Even the great sailors of history suffered from seasickness.
Admiral Horatio Nelson, one of Britain’s greatest Naval commanders joined the Navy at the age of 12 and throughout his career suffered from sea sickness whenever he set to sea. He would often feel ill in rough weather and it was only his enthusiasm and love of his naval career, as he became a captain at 20 and his patriotism for his country that stopped him from leaving for a life ashore.
Other well-known sufferers include Charles Darwin and Christopher Columbus.
Our Top Ten Ways to beat seasickness
- 1. Prevention is better than cure
Prevention is better than cure and if you are worried of feeling unwell then over the counter medicines are an effective way to fight the effects of mal de mer. Don’t wait until you start to feel sick, take it the night before you start sailing so that its working well when you start sailing. They can cause drowsiness, so use it to help you sleep then hinder your enjoyment of the sailing trip. Don’t discount alternative treatments as well like travel pressure bracelets and ginger for calming the stomach.
- 2. Get involved
Get involved and concentrate of doing something else. If you start to feel a little queasy try and take your mind of it. A firm favourite of many is to get on the helm and concentrate on steering the boat.
- 3. Fix your gaze on the horizon
Fix your gaze on the horizon (if there is one to be seen)- if the helm is not available then find yourself a comfy spot, ideally towards the middle of the boat where there is less movement and gaze towards the land. It gives your eyes a steady thing to focus on.
- 4. Keep hydrated
Its easy to forget to drink lots of H2O while out on the water. Dehydration is a prime cause of feeling unwell. There will always be plenty of fresh water to drink and is always worth taking a water bottle (not glass) to have on deck and ensure you keep topped up.
- 5. Food and drink
It might seem obvious but if there are certain things that disagree with you on land then try to avoid them on the water. Dairy products, spicy and fatty foods are all prime suspects for not helping those feeling a little unwell. Also try and avoid caffeinated drinks such as regular tea and coffee. Crackers and ginger biscuits are regularly found on any boat as they simple light and great at calming the stomach.
- 6. Stay on deck and fill up on fresh air
If you head down below to use the heads (marine toilet), make a cup of tea or help to prepare food and start to feel unwell then head back up on deck to fill your lungs full of fresh air it gives your eyes and ears a chance to remember where they are. However there will come a point especially when sailing longer distances and over night when the permanent crew will advise you to get to your bunk and help you if needed. It’s the next best place to be with your head on the pillow and your eyes closed.
- 7. Don’t get too tired
Whether a sail during the day or overnight passages its easy to get tired and to start feeling queezy. Get down below to your bunk or find a comfy sail bag to sit back and have a well-earned snooze.
- 8. Don’t get cold
its always fresher on the water and so don’t get caught out. Waterproofs not only keep you dry but they keep help keep you warm. If you are struggling with the motion of the ocean and also haven’t got the right kit on that there is a point where it will be better to be down below in your bunk getting warm.
- 9. Avoid alcohol and smoking
If you are worried about seas sickness it then try to avoid alcohol and smoking as it can make it worse.
- 10. Be sick
Better in than out! Its your body’s reaction to dealing with the situation and for some it’s the way to getting over it and getting on with it. Whether you use bucket or go straight over side don’t aim for the high side as it’s a sure fire way to loose friends.
We can’t offer any guarantee that you will never suffer from sea seasickness. Even the most seasoned of sailors succumb to Mal de mer at any time. The only solid solution we have to it is to sit under a tree admiring the rolling hills. However without some risk there is nothing to gain.