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Sailing Smoothly: Proven Tips to Beat Sea Sickness on Ferries!

Ah, the joys of sailing. The cool breeze, the sound of waves, the wide open horizon. What could be better? Well, for some of us, seasickness can quickly ruin the experience of a peasant ferry trip.

Sea sickness, also known as motion sickness[1]Motion Sickness – Cleveland Clinic, is a common condition that affects many people when traveling on ferries or long trips on the open sea. It's an uncomfortable condition that can make you feel nauseous, dizzy, and generally unwell.

Fortunately, there are things you can do to prevent or lessen the effects of sea sickness. In this article, we'll go over what sea sickness is, its causes and symptoms, and some proven tips to help you sail smoothly on your next ferry ride.

What is Sea Sickness?

Sea sickness is a type of motion sickness that is a general term used to describe feelings of nausea, dizziness, and general unwellness that can be caused by movement. It's most commonly experienced when traveling on a ferry or boat, but it can also be caused by other forms of movement such as roller coasters or planes. This is however what exactly happens when you fell sick on a ferry or on a ship:

When you are on a ferry, your inner ear senses the motion of the boat and sends signals to your brain. If the motion is too strong, your brain can become confused and overwhelmed, leading to the symptoms of sea sickness.

Steps to Prevent Sea Sickness (From the Pros!)

The best way to prevent seasickness is to be as prepared as possible before your ferry ride. Here are some tips to help you stay comfortable and nausea-free:

  1. Try sleeping through your ferry trip, plan this accordingly with your normal sleep timing, and make sure you have a quiet spot and things to block sound and light when you arrive on the ferry.
  2. Fresh air and Fresh Wind can alleviate and lessen seasickness. Only go outside if it's 100% safe of course.
  3. The oldest and best-known tip: Avoid drinking alcohol or eating heavy meals prior to the trip. Also, avoid spicy meals the day before: your stomach needs to be as relaxed as possible.
  4. Use wristbands like the ones you also use when you go jogging. They tend to help: there are various specialized anti-seasickness products for sale that are supposed to work, however, a normal wristband would do.
  5. Find a seat in the middle of the ferry, also the lower you are the better. So stay low (not the upper deck) and sit in the middle.
  6. Window seats tend to be better ( a tip that might collide with the seat in the middle of the ferry) but if you keep your eyes on the horizon. Seeing the horizon allows you to constantly calibrate your internal equilibrium. Don't stare at the horizon, however: You want to continually glance at the horizon, keeping it in sight. If you can’t look at the horizon, keep your eyes closed. This will reduce the conflicting signals between your eyes and inner ear.
  7. Mythbusters once confirmed you can cure seasickness by taking a ginger pill. [2]Mythbusters: Ginger Pill In this same episode btw they also saw these wristbands as useless. Ginger however is a good way to heal motion sickness.[3]Ginger to prevent motion sickness – Pupmed Clinical Trial
  8. When you arrive on the ferry: Avoid strong and smelly places ( places with food smells, heavy perfume or petrol, etc. ) If you by accident end up no a seat with strong odors: make sure you change seats.
  9. You want to avoid your body overheating, so stay out of direct sunlight and continually sip water to stay hydrated. As you get closer to the equator, the sun gets stronger and if you aren’t keeping liquids in you, dehydration can bring on symptoms of seasickness.
  10. Don’t use binoculars, or cameras or read for an extensive length of time. Simply avoid staring at things that your brain would usually consider stable, this will only make your symptoms worse.
  11. Eat less. Drink warm drinks. (Tip from a local captain), we've gotten when we were seasick ourselves)
  12. If you see (or smell) someone else getting seasick: move away. It's a contagious thing and moves away quickly (in a respectful manner of course).
  13. A wild sea can have a huge impact on seasickness, check the route you are taking and see if this is a wild season or not. Of course, you can't completely control this but it's better to avoid a wild sea if you are really scared or had bad experiences with seasickness.
  14. Seasickness Medications: Commonly used medicines are diphenhydramine (Benadryl), dimenhydrinate (Dramamine), and scopolamine. They tend to work well, but we would only go for this as a last resort.
  15. Motion sickness patches: Motion sickness patches, such as scopolamine (Transderm Scop), are applied behind the ear and are effective in preventing motion sickness.
  16. Try to face forward with your chair, don't fall for the chairs that face the wrong way.
  17. Make sure to get plenty of sleep the night before.
  18. Grab a vomit bag BEFORE you actually need one, or better: take one with you from your home.
  19. Sit in an area with fresh air and good ventilation, avid sailers always pick the place with the best ventilation when they take a ferry trip.

The Natural Remedies against Sea Sickness

Seasickness Ginger
Ginger is proven! to be the best remedy against Motion Sickness.

There are several natural remedies you can try to help lessen the effects of seasickness, two of them are already explained above, however, there are actually 3 of them. If you simply bring along on your trip: Peppermint / Ginger Tea or Ginger Candy and Acupressure Wristbands, you are 80% safe.

  • Ginger: Ginger is known for its anti-nausea properties and can help reduce feelings of nausea. You can try taking ginger capsules, drinking ginger tea, or eating ginger candy to help with sea sickness.
  • Peppermint: Peppermint has been found to help calm the stomach and ease feelings of nausea. You can try drinking a cup of peppermint tea or sucking on peppermint candy.
  • Acupressure: Applying pressure to certain points on the body, such as the wrists and temples, can help reduce feelings of nausea. You can use acupressure bands or simply press your fingers into the pressure points.
Seasickness Wristbands
The Pressure Wristbands, which are quite easy to make yourself =)

When you are on the ferry and you feel Seasickness coming

It's important to immediately go for fresh air. Then hydrate a little to keep the body hydrated then quickly pick up some peppermints and ginger candies and try to fall asleep.

Conclusion: Fighting Seasickness on Ferries

You are not the first (and the last) one to fight seasickness on a ferry, on some connections (crossing the Tasman sea for instance) there is much more to worry about than on a short crossing from Calais to Dover. However, with the right preparation and knowledge, you can make your ferry ride a pleasant one. By following the tips outlined in this article, you'll be well on your way to sailing smoothly on your next voyage. So don't let seasickness spoil your next adventure – prepare yourself and you'll be sure to have a wonderful time!

References
References
1 Motion Sickness – Cleveland Clinic
2 Mythbusters: Ginger Pill
3 Ginger to prevent motion sickness – Pupmed Clinical Trial

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4 Comments
  1. We can all agree those wristbands are fake right?

  2. Best way is to be at the front of the ferry top front deck was good and top middle deck being at the back definitely will get you sick I don’t know if it’s the vibration of the motors because once the motors cut out I felt a calm feeling I’d definitely say it was the vibration of the motors

  3. What is your opinion on the patches? (Scopolamine patches?)

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