How to Prevent Seasickness on a Fishing Trip

For some people, getting seasick is inevitable. No matter what they do the threat of seasickness always looms before them when a fishing trip is approaching. For others seasickness could be a once every blue moon type of occurrence. Regardless of what causes your seasickness and how often it happens, everyone would want to know how to avoid that horrible feeling, if possible. 

What is Seasickness?

Seasickness can be caused by any number of movements, but it all boils down to what is basically a glitch in the central nervous system. Even if something doesn’t particularly cause seasickness it can make it worse. Let’s first discuss actual cause of seasickness. 

What Causes Seasickness?

Repeated movements — the constant up and down motion of the boat can cause some conflict within the inner ear. As a result of this motion your ears will start to signal to your brain about what’s going on within your surroundings. Because this signal that is being sent conflicts with the signal that your eyes are sending to your brain it results in you feeling unwell. Messages from other parts of your central nervous system such as your muscles, skin pressure receptors and joint sensory receptors can also cause these conflicting messages sent to your body.

Things That Can Make Seasickness Worse

There are a few things that can increases the chances of getting seasick or that can make the effects of seasickness more noticeable and bothersome. These things include:

  • Taking antibiotics
  • Menstrual periods for women
  • Use of oral contraception
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Reading
  • Dehydration
  • Greasy/acidic foods
  • Being tired
  • Being around others who are nauseous or sick

Groups That Are More Prone to Seasickness

In addition to certain factors increasing the risk of seasickness there are simply some people who are just more susceptible in general. These groups include:

  • Children (ages 2-12)
  • Pregnant women
  • People who suffer from migraines
  • People who suffer from any sort of balance disorder

Of course, you will also be fishing so the smell or the fish and the water around you could only contribute to making you feel worse. That may be something you want to prepare for, especially if you are typically sensitive to smell, but that is something that will be discussed later in the article. 

Symptoms of Seasickness

So, there are some pretty common symptoms of seasickness that include:

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

At least one of these symptoms is usually present although all of the symptoms can be present at the same time.  The symptoms don’t necessarily come on in a slow, progressive nature. In fact, the symptoms are more likely to come on suddenly without warning and can progress very quickly from feeling a bit unwell to being full on sick. Of course, once you start to feel these symptoms you want them to stop as quickly as possible because of the level of discomfort you’re in. But what if instead you could avoid seasickness to begin with. Next we’ll cover different things to do leading up to your fishing trip in order to help prevent seasickness from occurring in the first place. 

Preventing Seasickness on a Fishing Trip

There different ways you can prevent seasickness. Some of these methods can be used in long term preparation for the trip and others can be used if you’re trying to prepare on a short-term notice because maybe someone invited you on a fishing trip with only a few days to prepare. 

Long Terms Ways to Prevent Seasickness on Fishing Trip

  • Know where you are going to sit — for some fishing trips you might be on a boat that’s large enough that where you actually position yourself on the boat can make a world of different in preventing seasickness. If you can arrange so that you are seated in the middle of the ship. If it is a boat with cabins, try making sure your cabin is right at about the waterline. 
  • For women — plan to go during a time when you aren’t menstruating or make sure you aren’t scheduling the trip to be during a time where you’re planning to be pregnant or trying to conceive. Even if you are adamant on going while you are pregnant it would probably be best to avoid going during the first trimester as this is when most mothers report feeling nauseous or having morning sickness which can and most likely will increase the chances of getting seasickness. 
  • You can try planning around the weather. Although you won’t be able to perfectly predict what the weather is going to be on any given day maybe you can pay attention to some trends that the area tends to follow during a specific time of year. Try scheduling your trip for a time when the waters are calmer and less liking to rock your fishing vessel. 
  • Taking B6 vitamins in the weeks leading up to your trip could also help seasickness. The same vitamin is used to treat nausea in pregnant women and can also help with sickness due to motion.
  • Also, make sure you won’t be starting an antibiotic treatment around this time, or if it is unavoidable maybe try postponing your trip until later when you have completed the antibiotic treatment.

Short Term Ways to Prevent Seasickness on Fishing Trip

  • Prior to going on your trip, you want to make sure you get plenty of rest. Without adequate rest your mind and body could be weaker which will cause it to succumb easier to the symptoms of seasickness. 
  • Avoid heavy, greasy foods — try to be mindful of what you’re eating in the hours leading up to your trip. These foods can unsettle your stomach and they can also dehydrate you faster which as stated above can increase the effects of seasickness. 
  • One very effective precaution to take is: avoid others that are experiencing symptoms of seasickness. Sometimes just seeing someone else get sick or even look like they are going to be sick can be enough to get our body to respond in turn. Try to avoid anyone that looks or is sick and if you cannot completely avoid them than get away from the area which they are in as quickly as possible.

How to Treat Seasickness on Fishing Trip

So, despite all the preparation you have done let’s say you still cannot avoid the effects of seasickness. Let’s talk about how to treat seasickness if you cannot avoid getting it completely.

  • Over the counter medication — so there are certain over the counter products you can purchase in order to help with seasickness. Antihistamines, such as Benadryl, Antivert, and Dramamine, are used in preventing and treating seasickness. Only antihistamines that are sedating are effective in treating seasickness, so something such as Allegra would not work in this case. 
  • Prescription medication — there is also medication that can be prescribed by doctors and comes in the form of a patch or a pill. The patch can be used for up to three days to prevent seasickness and is placed behind the ear.
  • Some people may not want pharmaceutical treatment at all so will try more natural approaches. The first of these approaches is simply drinking a good amount of water consistently. Drinking water can help quell nausea and hydrate you if any of the symptoms you are experiencing are related to dehydration. 
  • Standing up — sometimes just standing up and focusing on the horizon can help with feelings of seasickness. Although some may think it is better to sit or lie down when feeling queasy it is actually best to stand up. 
  • Certain oils can help — the smells of lavender and ginger have been known to be effective against nausea. Also, the smell and taste of peppermint can be very effective at curing nausea. Although lavender is primarily for smelling or inhaling, ginger and peppermint on the other hand can be consumed to ward of nausea. 
  • One last option could be acupressure bands. There are acupressure wrist bands that people use to treat both seasickness and even morning sickness in early pregnancy. These seem to have a lot of success and work by applying pressure to a pressure point known as P6, or Nei-Kuan, which is known to relieve effects of nausea and vomiting.
  • Eat dry crackers—it is almost always common that people who are feeling nauseous will avoid eating because they think it’ll help prevent them from vomiting but in fact by avoiding eating you would actually cause yourself to suffer more. While of course you don’t want to eat something super heavy that’s going to upset your stomach even more something like dry crackers, or even bread, can be exactly what you need to settle your stomach.

Overall, seasickness is something that is simply a part of the fishing experience for some. While there are things that can make you more prone to experience seasickness if you follow some of the guidelines above and prepare yourself before going fishing you can ensure you will avoid seasickness altogether. Of course, if all else fails you can still find ways to cure your seasickness so you can get right back to enjoying your fishing trip and focusing on catching the biggest catch of the day.

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