Seasickness - information, prevention and tips

Whether on a large cruise liner, motorboat or sailing boat, seasickness is one of the illnesses that many people fear when they are on the water. It can even affect experienced sailors. In this article, we explain the causes, what you can do about it and how best to prevent seasickness. We have our expert Sönke Roever from on board to answer a few questions.

Why do you get seasick?

The cause of seasickness is very simple. Our organ of balance in the ear perceives movements that contradict the visual perception of the eyes. Especially when you are indoors. The brain is simply overwhelmed by the different impressions and the body reacts with discomfort.

Sönke adds: "Origin, age and gender also play a role. For example, men get seasick less often than women and Asians more often than Europeans. Certain illnesses and elevated histamine levels can also increase seasickness."

It should be noted that people who have been travelling at sea for a long time can suffer the same fate on land. The "land sickness". The body lacks the typical swaying movements and reacts with corresponding stress.


What are the symptoms of seasickness?

It can manifest itself in different ways, but those affected usually suffer from the following:

- Headache

- Feeling of pressure

- Nausea and even vomiting

- Loss of appetite

- Sweating

- Fatigue


Can you get rid of seasickness? How long does seasickness last?

People who have frequently travelled on ships since childhood are less likely to get seasick or get used to it more quickly.

In people who are mildly affected, the body usually gets used to the swaying movements within 2-3 days.


Sönke, what are your tips against seasickness?

Go to bed early before the first day of sailing, don't drink alcohol and eat a low-histamine diet. If you are prone to seasickness or if you have a long crossing with heavy seas the next day, it makes sense to take a histamine suppressant the evening before.

The combination then ensures a good and restful night's sleep and lowers histamine levels. Have a good breakfast before setting sail to fill your stomach and possibly even prepare something to eat and drink for the day. This way you can reduce the amount of walking below deck and start the first day of sailing relaxed. Travelling or vitamin C chewing gum often helps too.

As skipper, what do I have to do if a crew member is seasick?

Sönke explains: "Ideally, the skipper should notice early on if a crew member is not feeling well. If tiredness and a certain lethargy set in, the skipper should be alert. It helps to involve the crew, make sure they eat and drink regularly and make sure they wear warm clothing.

It often helps if a crew member sits at the helm. This is a good way to anticipate and compensate for the movements of the ship. In the event of severe seasickness, it is advisable to place the seasick person in the saloon below deck with a warm blanket. Lying down and sleeping in a relatively motionless part of the ship leads to a significant improvement in seasickness for most sufferers."

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