One of the least pleasant aspects of going to sea is the possibility of getting seasick. An individual's susceptibility to seasickness is highly variable. If you've ever had motion sickness when traveling by car, plane, or amusement park ride, you may be more susceptible to seasickness while aboard a vessel.
Seasickness is a result of a conflict in the inner ear, where the human balance mechanism resides, and is caused by a vessel’s erratic motion on the water. Inside the cabin of a rocking boat, for example, the inner ear detects changes in both up-and-down and side-to-side acceleration as one’s body bobs along with the boat. But, since the cabin moves with the passenger, one’s eyes register a relatively stable scene. Agitated by this perceptual incongruity, the brain responds with a cascade of stress-related hormones that can ultimately lead to nausea, vomiting, and vertigo.
Additionally, an affected person’s symptoms can be magnified by the strong odors of things like diesel fumes and fish. Seasickness usually occurs in the first 12 to 24 hours after “setting sail,” and dissipates once the body acclimates to the ship's motion. It’s rare for anyone to get or stay ill beyond the first couple of days at sea—unless the vessel encounters really rough waves.
If you do get seasick, take comfort in the fact that recovery is only a matter of time, and the survival rate is 100 percent! Sensible eating, good hydration, and some patience are all that are usually required to get past a bout of seasickness.
Here are a few tips to help ease the symptoms of seasickness:
And don’t be embarrassed for getting seasick. Many people do—including seasoned travelers, professional fishers, sailors, and marine scientists.