How To Prevent And Control Seasickness – 12 Top Tips

Posted on November 27, 2014 by Lee under Sailing 4 Comments

Early signs of seasickness are easy to spot – an unhealthy pale appearance, yawning, restlessness, cold sweats – ultimately leading to nausea and vomiting. There’s no mistaking it, and once seasickness has set in when you’re out on a boat, you can’t do much to overcome the misery and discomfort of it.

Updated: There’s now 13 Top tips thanks to @svMinx, @CaptRobSailor, @CaptEdKelly and @Bigdumboat  

The trick, according to the saltiest of sea dogs – is to prevent the motion sickness happening in the first place. Not doing anything to control seasickness can be dangerous, not least because if a crew member is out of action, others are left coping with a shorthanded boat.

It’s said that around 75% of people who take up sailing and are out on a boat regularly, eventually get used to the sea’s motion, and are naturally cured of the debilitating affliction. But seasickness (also known as motion sickness) is so common we thought it would be useful to summarise these tried and tested techniques for control and prevention, and we hope they prove useful!

So here are 12 suggestions of how to prevent and control seasickness:

female sailor being seasick

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1. Look at the horizon

Let’s start with the simplest and most effective way of controlling the onset of seasickness! In a heaving sea, staring at the stationary horizon will often reset your internal equilibrium.

2. Remain on deck

Don’t be tempted to go belowships. It’s better to stay in the fresh air where you can watch the horizon. The worst possible thing could be to lie down where your brain can’t reconcile the confusion your inner ear is experiencing due to the motion of the boat.

3. Stay in the middle

You can minimise any motion the boat is feeling by holding a position amidships. Here the roll and pitch of the boat are considerably less than at the bow, stern or rails.

4. Avoid reading or looking for long periods through binoculars

Close focus work and looking through binoculars only add confusion to your brain and exacerbate the motion sickness, it’s been found, so it’s best to keep busy on physical tasks with your head up.

5. Take seasickness medication

Over the counter medication such as Dramamine and Bonine can be really effective. But be aware that these can cause drowsiness, which is not ideal whilst crewing a boat. Remember to start taking the medication two hours before getting on the boat.

Prescription Sturgeron is also recommended by many experienced sailors. Again the tablet must be taken well before needed, and side effects can also include drowsiness.

6. Slap on a patch

Scopolamine patches are worn behind the ear and look like small band-aids but contain small amounts of medicine which secretes into your skin. They are the most popular prescription drug for seasickness and they also come in pill form. Sailors appreciate the way they can work for long periods, but be careful not to over-use as prolonged use of the patch can lead to hallucinations.

sea band wrist bands for motion sickness

Image Credit:

7. Wear a wrist band

Investing in a seasickness prevention wrist band could really solve the problem of seasickness. You can opt for either an acupressure or magnetic band and both work by applying a slight amount of pressure or magnets to a pressure point on the underside of your arm just above the wrist.

8. Acupuncture

This might sound dramatic but it has been know for acupuncture needles to be used by sailors to alleviate seasickness. The obvious challenge here is dealing with sharp needles on a moving ship.. be careful!

9. Use natural oils

There are products on the market made of natural oils that can help some seasickness sufferers.

For instance Motioneaze is a blend of natural oils that is dabbed behind the ear. The manufacturer claims it works in less than five minutes and is even effective after symptoms of seasickness have begun. Because this is a natural product it is also safe for adults and children and is not thought to have any side effects. Find out more at

10. Eat sweets, chew gum

Whether it’s the sugar or the action of chewing and distracting the brain, sweets and gum and regularly munched by sailors hoping to save off nausea at sea.

11. Drink fizzy drinks

Sugary, fizzy drinks such as lemonade and cola are also thought to help prevent feelings of queasiness and mild seasickness. While far from healthy, they will give you energy and buck you up when energy levels are low. Generally speaking, it’s best to avoid alcohol, and stay away from heavy meals, particularly very greasy, spicy food.

12. Stock up on ginger

Ginger has been used to prevent seasickness for centuries so it’s well worth trying. You can stock up on crystalized ginger to chew on a sailing trip, or make a point of drinking ginger ale or ginger tea. There are ginger capsules on the market for this purpose too.

13. Wear a Solo Earplug (updated)

Although not part of our original list, this tip has been recommended by @svMinx, @CaptRobSailor, @CaptEdKelly and @Bigdumboat. We trust them, so should you!

It’s simple. just wear an ear plug in one ear.

In Summary…

Unfortunately no single method or medication has been developed that will cure seasickness for everyone. But it’s very encouraging that various methods do work for different people. The best advice is to take the problem seriously and find out which preventative measure will work best for you.

So, what are your tried and tested methods of preventing and controlling seasickness? Let us know in the comments section below.



About The Guest Author: Article supplied by Alison Clements who works for, the leading UK marketplace for buying and selling boats.



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