Most people when they board a boat are excited to enjoy a new adventure, for some it may be the first time they board a boat or ferry. Most of us are aware of the obvious dangers like falling overboard, hypothermia, and loss of situational awareness, but if you have never gotten sea sick would you think of it as something to worry about before boarding a boat or even taking a long car ride? Sea sickness can be a debilitating disease that at a minimum can severely impair one’s ability to think clearly, and at worst cause a crippling loss of body fluids from vomiting.
It is unknown why some folks are easily prone to sea sickness, and others have never experienced it in their life. This is true even for long time blue water sailors. But when you begin to feel the effects of it you will immediately know that something is not right, moderate seasickness may cause feelings of lethargy, nausea and sometimes chills. Severe seasickness begins with the urge to vomit, this may progress to uncontrolled sustained periods of vomiting.
When sea sickness gets this severe it can eventually lead to life threatening consequences from loss of body fluids, if you are outside, wet, and cold, hypothermia may set in and the dangers are increased.
Sea sickness has affected boaters and sailors since they first set out to sea a thousand years ago, and treatments for sea sickness have a long history. One of the oldest treatments is the use of ginger as a candy, gum, ginger slices, or pickled ginger. Ginger has for generations been a popular candy in China, it is known to settle an upset stomach, its first use for sea sickness may date to the early Chinese sailors. Other suggested treatments include an acupuncture bracelet which presses on a nerve in the wrist, or a more modern version is an electric stimulation watch which uses an electric current to do the same thing. Medications have also been tried, although some cause drowsiness, these include Benadryl, Dramamine, and Bonine. Some medications do not cause drowsiness such as Cinnarizine.
Preparation Is The Key To Being Safe
As with most preparations for ensuring safety at sea it is best to prepare before you set out, avoiding or dealing with sea sickness is no different. Treatments for sea sickness have to be taken before you begin to feel the effects of sea sickness, if you wait until you get sea sick it will be too late to deal with it. If you think you may get sea sick be prepared and use a treatment before you set out. If you are concerned about taking a medication try ginger, it is natural, safe, and effective for many people. Just make sure you use a reliable source of ginger that is available for treating sea sickness.
An excellent article on sea sickness is available at http://www.newportbeachsail.com/Seasick%20Awareness.pdf, you can download a copy and keep it in your medical kit on board.
This article is meant to help keep you informed about safety at sea, but as always consult your doctor before taking any medications especially if you may have conditions that may particularly warrant it.
New! Anchor Nutrition Bar
A new product is on the market which provides a remedy without the adverse side affects of drowsiness. It is the Anchor Nutrition Bar, the seasickness preventing nutrition bar. Real Food solutions which invented the bar conducted a survey which suggested that 70 percent of the people who tried the bar were relieved or cured of seasickness. Plus it only contains recognizable food ingredients. And for $3.99 each who could argue not having some on board if only just for a snack? They can be found at www.anchornutri.com.
Keeping Safe From The BeaconWatch Team