Gold Coast Lady Anglers
Ventura County, California
Worried About Sea Sickness?
Sea Sickness Remedies
By Captain David Yumori
Being in a smaller vessel, I see a lot of encounters with sea sickness. Most of my sea sickness casualties come on twilight and lobster trips due to sloppy seas and poor visibility. Here are some tips on how to prevent you from turning green. Here is my disclaimer; ultimately it is up to you and your doctor to find the proper sea sickness remedy for you.
First thing you need to do is get a good night’s sleep. I have found that some anglers who partied too hard the night before or even worse, come on the boat hung over don’t do well. Even my seasoned deckhand Gus claims that once a year he will get sea sick when he works long hours on little sleep.
Avoid eating rich and spicy foods before a trip. Heartburn on the water is just one more thing that can push you over the edge. Another misconception is that you shouldn’t eat if you’re prone to sea sickness. Nothing can be further from the truth. I have been known to get sick when I have an empty stomach and the movement of the boat makes things worse. Once you puke, a few times, you have to take in some fluids and food for two reasons. One is that dry heaves is one of the most miserable things to have. Secondly, you lose a lot of water when you up chuck and compound with extreme heat, you can put yourself in a dangerous situation. Nobody dies from sea sickness, but the dehydration from it can be fatal. That is why many life rafts, as part of their survival kits, have sea sick medication in their survival kits.
Try fishing in the mornings instead of the afternoons. The seas are typically their calmest in the morning hours. Locally, at around 2 pm the wind picks up and the sea begins to roll. Also avoid fishing at night and in the fog. The poor visibility really messes with people your equilibrium.
When it comes to sea sickness medications, there are over the counter kinds such as Bonine and Dramamine. Most people like the Bonine because it makes them less drowsy. With any oral medication, I recommend taking the pill several hours before the trip so the medication is already in your system before leaving the dock.
There are some other medications but you need a doctor’s prescription to obtain them. One that has been around for years is the Transderm Scop patch. It is a round sticker that you place behind your ear. One of the downsides is that it’s a one size fits all. Some people like my dad have found that using a half dosage works best. He just carefully cuts the patch in half with a pair of clean scissors. A new medication that many are calling a miracle drug is called Scopace. You have to tell the doctor what to prescribe since the medication is fairly new on the market. It is an oral pill that comes in dosages based on your size.
The last type of sea sick remedies are the homeopathic and natural varieties. One is ginger. For years Asian fishermen would have ginger in their lunch boxes and claimed it was a natural sea sick remedy. The Marina Del Rey Anglers Club passes out ginger candies on the kid trips and they have found that usually it was the kids that didn’t eat the candy that turned green. Anglers also find that ginger ale helps settle their stomach.
Some people used the pressure point wrist bands to cure sea sickness but to be honest with you, I have not seen many of them used. I have heard a lot of good stuff about the electric wrist band but because of its high retail price, many people get sticker shock. With the electronic wrist band, you have to make sure you don’t get it wet. Make sure that you purchase the one with a replaceable battery.
The last remedy I have heard of and Dick at Purfield’s really believes in are ear plugs. He says if you take the soft foam ear plugs and stick them as deep as you can to where they bottom out, you don’t get sea sick. I think it’s his way of not having to listen to me during a trip.
Some last notes: try to get fresh air, a stuffy cabin, or galley is not a fun place for people on the verge of puking. Sometimes the stern of the boat is a bad place to be because of the engine exhaust. The best place to catch some fresh air is on the bow or the sun deck. Also if all else fails, when to do puke don’t do it in the head or the cabin. Your shipmates will hate you for it. If on a day time trip do it over the rail. If it’s a night trip, do it in a trash can or on the back deck if nobody is around. The deckhands can always wash the back deck with the deck hose. You don’t want to puck over the rail at night because there may not be a deck watch and if you fall overboard, nobody may see you.Another view....