Avoiding Sea Sickness

 

Nobody WANTS to be sea sick.  Especially when your going out on the water or a day of fishing.  There are many remedies for sea sickness, listed below are some of what appears to be available.

Some of the old time remedies are still around, but new technology has opened doors for other boaters who have given up on ever being able to fish without being sick:   The following information has been scavenged from many sources and what works for some may not be as effective for others.   Read and follow the manufacturers directions for each product.

 


The blue header names that are underlined, have hyperlinks to that company's webpages, so click on them
for more specific information.

Do You Wear Glasses?
If you happen to wear bi-focal or tri-focal glasses that have the graduated lenses, (no distinct separation lines between the prescriptions) read on as you may be in trouble. 
Your eyes are constantly trying to adjust to the lens all the time because of the rocking motion of the boat.  On these graduated lenses,  you have to raise and lower your head until the object is in focus, but with the rocking motion the eyes cannot keep up & seasickness may present itself.   
     

Vitabahn Oral Spray:     
VitaMotion-S is as easy as four quick sprays in your mouth.  Unlike pills, no water is needed, making it perfect for those long business trips or vacations.   It combines ingredients that have been used for years in fighting the symptoms of motion sickness.  Each dose of VitaMotion-S contains dimenhydrinate, an antihistamine that aids in the prevention of nausea and vomiting. 

Ginger, used for centuries and known for its ability to relieve motion sickness and dizziness better than the standard drug treatment, is also included, as is vitamin B6, a water-soluble nutrient that works with ginger to relieve gastric problems. 

These three age-tested forms of relief are combined to create a unique 1-2-3 punch for even the toughest cases of motion sickness.
 

Quease Ease:   
This is a aromatic Inhaler that is drug-free, all natural product consisting of a unique blend of pure essential oils.  It was formulated to calm the queasiness associated with surgery and anesthesia and may be beneficial in soothing motion sickness,  morning sickness, and chemotherapy related nausea.  The user simply removes the cap, takes a few deep breaths of the essential oil therapy when needed, then replaces the cap tightly.  It is provided in a unique container designed for safety, ease of use and portability.   Each cylindrical tube sells for $18.99

Scopolamine:
Sometimes referred to as "the patch".  This remedy can be obtained by prescription only from your doctor. It looks like a little round Band-Aid and is worn behind your ear.  There are a certain percentage of people who have adverse side effects to this medication.  It is highly suggest that if you're using this remedy for the first time, try using one at home first.  You don't want to find out that you have an adverse reaction to this stuff when you're several miles out at sea
Dry mouth is usually the only side effect, but that is true with most all sea sickness medications.

Also don't rub it and get any of the residue off the patch in your eyes.  The patch instructions also mentions three days in it's instructions. This seems to be because if you use it for more than three days straight it can create a reaction problem on some people.  Remember to read the instructions & if something seems to be happening out of the ordinary, to then contact your doctor.  

Another factor that is important is to take a wet washcloth and thoroughly clean the hairless spot behind one ear, where the patch WILL LATER be placed.   Then let that area dry completely before carefully applying the patch.   If you don't want the patch to fall off, make sure you apply it exactly in that hairless spot beyond an ear.
 

Scopolamine Gel:
This medication is basically the same as the patch, butt is available in salve form that you rub into the palm side of your wrist skin.  It is also only available by prescription also. The Scopolamine gel made by UCP comes in unit dose, pre-loaded syringes (without the needles) and is easy to apply. You simply squirt out the pre-measured gel from the syringe onto the wrist or behind an ear and massage into the skin. It's anti-nausea effect begins in as little as 10 minutes and lasts anywhere from 6 to 12 hours, depending on the individual. 

BE SURE TO WASH YOUR HANDS IMMEDIATELY AFTER APPLYING THE GEL! 

Possible side effects include dry mouth, drowsiness, and blurred vision. These are the same as the patch except they occur sooner but the duration is much shorter.

If you have glaucoma, you should NOT use Scopolamine gel.   If you are elderly, have
bladder problems, impaired liver or kidney problems, ask your doctor before using Scopolamine in any form.

Motion Eaze:
When you are nauseous the last thing you want to do is put something in your stomach, even a pill.   Motion Eaze is an oil that is applied to, and absorbed through the skin, just behind each ear.   It's perfect for children that have trouble taking pills.    It is formulated to provide fast relief from the symptoms of motion sickness.    It's natural oils are the perfect way or travelers to prevent motion sickness, sea sickness or altitude sickness.   After just one application, relief arrives in minutes, and lasts for hours. 

Motion Eaze is the most effective motion sickness treatment on the market today.  Whether you want to prevent occasional motion sickness or eliminate the symptoms, after the fact, Motion Eaze does the job.   No matter, if it's sea sickness, car sickness, air sickness or any activity where motion sickness poses a problem,  Motion Eaze really works!


Bonine®:
This appears to be one the best over the counter, pill form remedy.  This is the brand name, as is also Dramamine II but the common name is Meclizine.  Drowsiness is the side effect, but less so than with other brands.  To be effective you should get this medication in your system 8 hours before you board the boat.  If possible, sleep on it and take more when you board the boat and you tend to be less drowsy.  That way, it's in your system and working when you wake up. 

For maximum effectiveness, take one 25mg dose of Bonine® or Meclizine the night before your trip and another dose of 12.5 mg in the morning when you wake up.  Then take 12.5 mg every 4 hrs during the trip.  The above recommendation and dosage was supplied by a pharmacist friend that is also a scuba diver.

 

Ginger:
Plain old ginger root is what we are referring to.  You can get this in raw, powdered, dehydrated, candied, pill form, as a paste, in cookies, tea, Ginger Ale, well, you get the idea.  Just like with the wrist bands, ginger can be added along with any of the other remedies without conflicting with them.  There is no "prescribed dosage" on this stuff, as the possible usage may be varied.  However if you read the inscription on the bottle of natural herbs, it mentions 2 tablets before.  It has been found best to use 4 tablets the night before, then 2 more when you get up in the next morning, then 2 more as you board the boat, this seems to be effective on most people.  Then have ginger snap cookies to munch on along with ginger tea.

Side effects of ginger are rare when used as recommended.  Persons with a history of gallstones should consult a doctor before extended ginger usage.

Wrist Bands:
These are
acupressure point therapy wrist bands.  Sea Band® is one trade name.  Most people discount this remedy because it "sounds" like a gimmick.  Adjustable and reusable, one size fits all, wrist bands use a Velcro type strap or elastic band that applies continuous acupressure to the P- 6 acupressure point.  This point is located on the inner forearm just above the wrist to relieve nausea and vomiting from motion sickness, morning sickness, cancer treatments, and surgery anesthesia.

Using acupressure, the wristband applies natural pressure therapy to a specific acupuncture point that controls nausea and vomiting.   With the right degree of pressure, the transmission of nausea is blocked before it can be registered by the brain – thus eliminating the feelings of nausea, before they even start!

Though some may be skeptical of this ancient Chinese practice, there are many patients who swear by it.  The nice thing about this remedy is that it can be added along with any of the other remedies without conflicting with them.   If you try any type pressure bands, be sure to put them on before you climb aboard.

 

Dramamine®:
The common name is Dimenhydrinate.  Even though the package says to take at least two hours before going out, the key to Dramamine is like most other medications for sea-sickness is to take one the night before just before you go to bed, and then take 2 as soon as you wake up. Take another when boarding the boat.  Don't forget to supplement your Dramamine intake every 2-3 hrs , as to not let its effects ever run out.  

Some people say they can actually feel it's effects start to work, as a sort of drowsy mood starts and back of the throat feels different.  It does make you drowsy, but that's a lot better then being sick. 
Also, there is Dramamine II, the less drowsy version, although some people report it is not quite as effective on them. 

 

Gravol®:
Gravol is found in Canada and is a trade name for the nonprescription drug dimenhydrinate.   They are inexpensive and easy to obtain.

 

Motion sickness: The initial dose should be taken at least 30 minutes and preferably 1 to 2 hours before departure.  The usual adult dose is 50 mg to 100 mg taken every 4 hours as needed.   Do not exceed the recommended maximum dose of 400 mg over a 24-hour period.  For adults requiring extended relief, 1 to 2 of the 75 mg long-acting capsules (or caplets) may be taken every 8 hours. 

At recommended doses, Gravol can cause drowsiness, dizziness and blurred vision.   It can impair your concentration and motor coordination.

 Dimenhydrinate is available in various strengths depending on the dosage form and brand used.  This medication is available in different dosage forms: tablets, capsules, caplets, syrup, liquid, suppositories, and injection.

Dimendydrinate should not be used by anyone with: glaucoma, chronic lung disease, difficulty passing urine due to an enlarged prostate (prostatic hypertrophy)

Queasy Pops: 
A new product on the market in summer of 2004 is a Popsicle called Queasy Pops, with a parallel product called Queasy  Drops to be available soon . 

They were developed by healthcare professionals to provide relief from the queasy stomach associated with motion sickness and chemotherapy. 

Queasy Pops are effective due to the special formulation of essential oils from natural herbs and aromatherapy, in combination with the unique delivery method.  Ongoing empirical and anecdotal research to improve and develop the unique flavors has proved satisfying for many customers. 

Queasy Pops also alleviate dry mouth, provide quick calories for a nice energy boost and are overall very soothing and comforting. 

Flavors include: ginger, lavender, peppermint, cinnamon, sour lemon, sour raspberry, papaya and green tea with lemon.  As a NEW addition, they also now offer two sugar free options: sugar free ginger and sugar free sour raspberry, both sweetened with Splenda and so tasty!  0 net carbs. 

Cost is under $3.00 for a package of 7.

Conceived by healthcare professionals.  Drug free and Doctor recommended.  All natural and delicious

 

Peppermint Candy:
Here is another item that can help.  Plain old peppermint candy can be something you may want to have in your pocket.   The ones I recommend are the little flat round, red striped white mints that are wrapped in clear plastic.  These seem to sooth the stomach on many persons.

Vitamin B6:
This is another potential solution as a preventative of sea sickness, a dose of vitamin B6, which also should be taken about an hour before you set sail.   A 500 mg tablet should be sufficient enough, but again – bring along an extra tablet or two if you’re planning on spending the entire day at sea.

Chewing Gum:
Simply chewing gum helps some people who succumb to sea sickness The health food stores carry a ginger gum which can also add to the effectiveness.

 

Rolaids®:
Keep some on the boat for people who didn't prepare for sea sickness or didn't prepare enough.  It usually helps those who are just slightly sick but it doesn't help the majority of unprepared sea sick prone people.  One thing it does for them is to help neutralize stomach acid so it doesn't burn so much on the way back up.

 

Promethazine & Ephedamine:
This combination has been recently recommended by an Alaskan guide.  These are both a prescription drug.  The Promethazine is a normal sea-sickness medication and the Ephedamine is a cold medication that is used to counteract the drowsiness brought on by the Promethazine.  The normal dosage is 25mg each.  This is the required medication of the Alaska USCG for sea duty personnel.  However it may be almost impossible to obtain the Ephedamine because of the abuse of it by the dopies who use it to make Methamphedamines.  And most doctors are are not going to stick their necks out to prescribe drugs not approved for usage together by the FDA.  

However recently a letter from NASA has surfaced, describing their method of avoiding sea/air sickness as related to the above.  A pharmacist friend says that about the only way a doctor will prescribe this is that if the prescription is taken to a compounding pharmacy where the 2 ingredients are mixed together.

 

Just a few things to keep in mind:    

For those of you who tend to get a touch of sea sickness, take a medication and look at the suggestions below.  In all probability any good medication may fail if you DO NOT adhere to the following guidelines.

Most instructions will say take a tablet an hour before boarding the boat.   WRONG, multiple pills need to be taken, starting the night before.   A pill taken in the stomach has to hit the small intestines before it can be absorbed and that can take hours.  Taking it even 1 hour prior is no guarantee you will be benefited by the pill.   A pill taken before bed and another chewable dissolved between your cheek and gum one hour before departure and then again every 3-1/2 hours (set your watch) works great.    The capillaries get the drug into your blood stream right away and the effect is much faster.   This works with all the regular seasick pills like Bonine (Meclazine) or Dramamine


The reason for sea sickness is that the inner ear is trying to balance us like a gyroscope, in relationship to what our eyes are seeing (the motion).  And these two marvels of our body are not in total agreement on how to do the best job.

One of the first symptoms of seasickness may be drowsiness.  If you take a Dramamine 30 minutes before going out and you feel drowsy once you get out there, you aren't drowsy from the Dramamine, you are drowsy because you are getting seasick. 

Even though you think you may not be prone to getting sea sick, there may be a time when conditions are just wrong and you may join the ranks of those who wish they had never set foot onboard that day.  Therefore it may behoove you to read this sheet and get some of these preventions JUST IN CASE.   Personally, I tend to get a dose of seasickness on the first ocean trip of the year, after that I am OK.

 

Some people have a tendency to "over do" a good thing when they're on vacation. Go easy on the dinner the night before and breakfast in the morning before you go out.  Don't stuff yourself.  Don't get drunk the night before (hangovers are even worse out at sea) and get a GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP.

There was an article by a MD who also liked to fish, published in the early 1970's that addressed sea sickness.  He concluded that it is best to get plenty of sleep the night before, and eat a light breakfast, try dry bread or a muffin and a LITTLE tea, or some food but with very little grease.  Eggs and bacon and so on are NOT on the recommended breakfast list.  Then to have crackers (like Ritz) for something to munch on during the day.  His idea was to never have your stomach empty, but to have something in the stomach that would absorb some of the gastric juices.  However most liquids are not recommended.  His thoughts also were that many people are afraid they will get sea sick, and they can have an anxiety situation that aggravates the problem. 
 

Most people who do get sea sick, do not get sick while the boat is running, but after it is stopped and drift fishing is started.  What gets to them is the mild swells that slightly roll the boat.  In these cases it is best NOT to watch the water close to the boat, but to look out over the horizon.  Also if you get in the centerline of the boat, you have less roll, and the stern has less motion than the bow, however the stern may may be close to the boat's exhaust where diesel fumes seem to defeat the all the anti-rolling you are trying to avoid.

 

I have a friend who has had to give up salt water fishing because, ever since he was a child, he has had inner ear / sinus problems.  He doesn't get vomiting sick, but has head aches,  stability problems and queasiness.  If he stays fishing in a situation like this for over one day, it can then put him in bed for a week to recover.  During this time he even has problems walking, and definitely does not want to drive a car, because of the instability.  Nothing he has tried has solved his problem and doctors have not helped, however the patch has probably come the closest for him.

There are other general tips for avoiding seasickness. If possible, sit outside on the deck of the boat to get lots of fresh air.  Always face forward, find a spot in the center of the boat that has less motion side to side.  It may also be of benefit to try to avoid an area of the boat that has the exhaust vented at (usually the stern).   Also try NOT to get on a boat with a completely empty stomach, as energetic gastric juices tend to promote queasiness.

 

Also stay away from consuming most items containing sugar.  It has been reported that after drinking or eating sugary sweets you may succumb easier.  This would include soda pop, bear claws, candy etc.

 

One last thing, if you have to puke, DO NOT GO INTO THE HEAD (toilet area), as it is a confined place.  Locking yourself in the head with your own puke stink is bad enough, but further messing up your equilibrium by taking the horizon out of your site is just going to make you sicker.  Do it over the DOWNWIND side of the boat, for obvious reasons.  For those of you who are landlubbers, downwind, is the side of the boat that the wind IS NOT blowing onto.  If you puke INTO the wind, you will then probably want to change your clothes rather soon.  If you miss and some of your vomit did not make it over the side, offer to clean it up soon.  Don't worry about your companions, as they will either be there with you or be hauling in the fish.

 

On the lighter side .... The best sea sickness cure for a fisherman is a screaming reel drag.  The problem here is that it is only temporary and usually ends shortly after the fish hits the fish box.  

 

The following were taken off i-fish message board.

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Take it from someone who has suffered seriously in the past, and now does just dandy (when he remembers his meds):

Scopolamine patch the night before Dinner that you KNOW sits well,  GET SOME SLEEP ----- No seriously, this is CRITICAL, get sleep.
Wake up, have a light breakfast,   Use your preferred pick-me-up.  Caffeine or 5hr energy type shots

NASA recommends an antiemetic (nausea) medication and a stimulant to combat the two known causes of seasickness.  Highly recommend following their lead. However, for space flight, they use Inapsine/Phenergan for the nausea and Dexedrine for the stimulant, which is tough to get over the counter.

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Put a chewable Dramamine between your cheek and gum like a wad of chewing tobacco 1 hour prior to departure and every 3 hours after that. Works even after you start feeling queasy and you can't barf it up.


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It is important to eat while on the boat.  When you start to get seasick your body will start to over salivate.  When you swallow that your stomach doesn't know how to handle it and you will throw it up.
I used to use the patch and even then I would still be sick.  My Dr. recommended using both Bonine and Scopolamine.  It worked great but I was really tired.  I then started having weird dreams and possible hallucinations from it so I had to cut back on the Scopolamine.  Now I can get away with Bonine the night before and eating while on the boat.  If your looking to use no medicine at all try eating crackers and see if it works.
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When I was young, going anywhere near the ocean was a near death experience.  Got some advice from a friend who told me to NEVER look down by tilting your head forward.  If you have to do something, pick up whatever you need (bait) and do it in front of your face.....REPEAT -- NEVER tilt your head forward.  It worked.  I won't say I can't get sick as I did start feeling poorly on a halibut trip a couple years ago.  It was rough and looking out the front of the boat was beginning to work on me.  I move to the back of the boat and looked toward a town in the distance, felt fine in a few minutes.  Wasn't bothered the rest of the day.  Have never felt bad on a tuna trip or bottom fishing.  Plenty of opportunity for sure.

Some things I've learned.......

Sleep, very important.

Never take anything that makes you tired like Dramamine or whatever.

The absolute best OTC thing you can take is fresh ginger.

Keep your head up, move around the boat, look toward shore so your eyes can fix on something stationary.

Don't wait till you feel bad to do something.  Pay attention as soon as the boat starts moving.
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I have found that I can minimize it quite a bit by chewing gum - not 1 piece but many pieces.  They explained it - but did not make much sense.  But seems to help.
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Scopolamine (by prescription) the night before and the morning of your trip, add a tablet of bonnie and top it off with a ginger capsule. You can still get Scopolamine but you just have to get it from a compounding pharmacy.  Long beach pharmacy will compound it for you, it did mine this summer.
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I agree with the eating. Crackers, cheese, and some 7 UP to drink. If you do get seasick anyway, I'd suggest having some Gatorade on board to drink. It will replace the electrolytes you lost overboard. Stay hydrated and stay busy
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I was told that seasickness is an inner ear thing and by putting a "gummy" type ear plug in ONE ear will greatly reduce the inner fluid issues.  I haven't tried it but my buddies daughter gets sick on a pond.  She tried it and said it worked good....go figure.
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I agree with the patch. I have actually found that I only need 1/4 of the patch to do the trick.  1 entire patch makes me so dry I cant drink enough fluids.  Put the patch on the night before behind your ear.  I leave it on all day while fishing and take it off as soon as the boat is headed towards shore.  It seems to make a big difference for me and my long drive back home.  Also, I have been told that studies show a loss in short term memory with the patch.  Maybe I overdosed on it, because my memory sucks.

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I have fought the "curse" for many years and was almost to the point of quitting ocean fishing. I met a pharmacist who gave me the best tip ever and it has worked wonders.  She said to purchase the Meclazine tablets from Costco and take them home and cut them all in half with a pill cutter.  Maybe a week or two before Tuna season, or any other ocean trip start with a 1/2 pill each night every night and then an additional 1/2 the morning you go fishing.  I have used this recommendation for two years in a row now and it has been absolute fool proof.  When I know I will be going out bottom fishing or some other trip that comes up rather quickly I just start right up with the 1/2 pill each night before bed and again in the AM and I am good to go.  I almost think that I have been out so many times now that my body has acclimated itself to the "curse" -  I just haven't gone without it.

By using this method you will not experience the dry mouth or the extreme sleepy feeling, it is a slow and easy way for your body to be transitioned from a puker to a Salty Dog!

 

I hope the above information may help inform some of you and allow you to have a better day on the water!

 

Sorry that I have offered so many different possible solutions, but take your choice of one or more that may appeal to you.

 

 

Copyright © 2004 - 2015  LeeRoy Wisner  All Rights Reserved

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Originated 06-22-2004      Last updated 10-26-2015
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