Seasickness results from a conflict between sensory information being sent to your brain from your eyes, body position, and inner ear. This conflict does not occur on good old stable land where all inputs agree. However, when a boat begins rising, falling, and pitching on swell and chop, the inputs begin to vary. Next thing you know a headache comes on, you don’t feel good, and, if it goes to conclusion, you experience nausea. Thankfully, with proper medication seasickness is curable for most people
We’ve been guiding on the North Pacific for three decades and cannot suggest too strongly that if you are prone to seasickness, go to your doctor and get medication. If you aren’t sure if you’re prone, get medication. Most over-the-counter medications have marginal value. Prescription medication has proven far more effective. We are sharing our experience here, but we by no means do we claim to know the safest cure for each individual.
Coast Guard Cocktail: Promethazine (25 mg) and Ephedrine (25 mg)
This medication gets its name because it’s given to crew aboard Coast Guard vessels. It’s highly effective, but ephedrine extremely difficult to get even with a prescription. The general assumption is that ephedrine only serves to offset the drowsiness brought on by the promethazine. This is not our experience. Something about the combination of the two works best. On promethazine alone we see drowsy seasick people, but very few people get sick when they take both. This cure can even reverse symptoms of seasickness once you’re on the water, but taking it ahead of time is far more effective.
Transderm Scop® “The Patch”
The most commonly prescribed seasickness and highly effective for most people, this cure has made going to sea a lot more comfortable for millions of people. If you’ve tried it and it works – stick with it. If the Coast Guard cocktail is something your doctor won’t write a prescription for or your pharmacist can’t fill, the Patch is an excellent choice.
Over the Counter
Dramamine and Bonine are widely used and provide relief for some sufferers of seasickness. If you have just a wee bit of difficulty with mal de mer, these over-the-counter meds may work. If you’re a serious sufferer of seasickness, talk to your doctor and get a prescription cure.
• Don’t drink heavily the night before. A hangover will have you more than halfway to seasickness before you leave the dock.
• Avoid greasy and heavy foods.
• While aboard, avoid cramped spaces, engine fumes (our boats don’t produce noticeable fumes), and strong odors.
• Focus on far away objects like mountains or the horizon. Avoid close focus like untying a knot or tangle. Don’t look through binoculars or eye-pieces in cameras or videos. Reading is not recommended.
• Sit or stand facing forward when the boat is traveling so you can anticipate the motion.
• Get plenty of fresh air and avoid the bow of the boat for extended periods of time when fishing in order to minimize movement.