There’s nothing that utterly decimates a fantastic fishing trip like sea sickness. Aside from losing yesterday’s lunch, sea sickness prevents you from fishing effectively (or at all). The great news is that you don’t have to worry about “chumming” the water on your next trip, as we have a step-by-step guide on preventing sea sickness while fishing.
How to prevent sea sickness while fishing:
- Plan Your Fishing Trip To Limit Rough Seas
- Build Up Your Tolerance Against Sea Sickness
- Eat And Pack The Correct Foods
- Take Sea Sickness Tablets Preemptively
- Staying Hydrated Is Essential To Preventing Sea Sickness
- Angle Your Boat Into The Waves
- Staying In The Middle Of The Boat Helps
- Pick A Spot On The Horizon And Focus On It
- Don’t Fish Alone If You Get Seasick
Table of Contents
Sea sickness is a motion sickness caused by a “miscommunication” between the signals your eyes and inner ear send to the brain.
I.e., the fluid in your inner ear that helps you to balance is sloshed around when a boat rocks back and forth; however, because your eyes perceive the boat as moving with you, your brain receives mixed signals. This confusion often leads to nausea, vertigo, and vomiting.
The greater the wave chop, the more severe the boat’s rocking movements, increasing the likelihood of developing sea sickness.
When planning a fishing trip, check the weather forecast (wind, waves, storms, etc.) and choose a day and time when the sea will be at its calmest to limit the likelihood of sea sickness and its severity.
Many people become seasick (especially if you haven’t grown up on/around boats and the ocean), but like most unpleasant things, it’s possible to build a tolerance against sea sickness.
If you’re prone to sea sickness, plan your trips to be shorter ( traveling and duration/time spent fishing). Spend less time on the water and launch closer to where you want to fish. That way, you’ll learn your limits.
Over time you’ll start increasing how long and far you travel by boat, eventually making it through an entire fishing trip without any issues!
The correct diet the day before and while on the boat prevents sea sickness from setting in.
Certain foods (and beverages) have the potential to upset your stomach/make you more susceptible to developing sea sickness and should be avoided, including:
- Alcohol interferes with the part of your brain responsible for balance, directly influencing sea sickness. Alcohol causes dehydration and nausea (a hangover will not help the situation).
- Coffee is also a no-go. Coffee also causes a dehydrating effect on the body, which is counterproductive to preventing sea sickness.
- Oily, greasy, and acidic foods. The oils and acids in these foods throw our systems (stomach and other gastrointestinal members) into disarray and cause nausea. If your body is trying to manage excess acid or metabolize oil, it is less able to resist sea sickness.
The recommended food selection to prevent seasickness includes:
- Bread and grains
- Fruit (apples, bananas)
- Hard candy
- Dry crackers
These “heavy” foods sit in your stomach and help reduce nausea. Sucking on the hard candy and eating dry crackers help to alleviate any nausea you experience while at sea.
However, don’t eat too much, even if it’s off the “recommended list.” Moderate eating will help settle a queasy stomach, but too much will cause you to become nauseous.
We recommend a good breakfast before launching and a few snacks during the day.
While most of us would rather not jump into popping pills, the benefits of sea sickness tablets cannot be overstressed.
This medication blocks neural pathways and helps to alleviate nausea and vertigo symptoms of sea sickness, improving your fishing experience dramatically.
Effective medication includes:
These medications vary in the amount of time needed until their effects kick in, but it’s usually between 1 and 4 hours before your fishing trip. Many anglers prefer to take medication the night before and again in the morning before heading out.
Some doctors prescribe taking sea sickness medication for 48 hours to 4 days before your trip to ensure the chemicals are in your system. Your metabolism significantly affects how quickly the medication takes effect.
We recommend consulting a doctor/pharmacist before electing sea sickness medication.
An alternative to sea sickness tablets is ginger drinks and snacks (made with real ginger), and If it does not prevent sea sickness, it will reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Some anglers also swear by peppermint oil to help alleviate/prevent the symptoms.
While staying hydrated is essential for those experiencing sea sickness, avoiding dehydration (drinking plenty of water) will also prevent sea sickness from developing.
Dehydration leads to nausea, which perpetuates sea sickness. We need water to regulate most of our bodies processes. So when your body is not in equilibrium, it has negative consequences/makes you more susceptible to seasickness.
The human body is a funny thing. While the boat is moving, you generally don’t experience seasickness; however, when the boat stops and the gentle side-to-side and up-and-down rocking motion begins, you develop sea sickness.
The motion is aggravated when the boat is side-on to the waves. As the boat moves up and down with the wave, it lurches to one side and then to the other (depending on the size of the swell).
Angling your boat so that the bow faces the swell will reduce the amount of motion (thanks to the keel slicing through the waves) and, by extension, the severity/likelihood of sea sickness.
Depending on where you stand and sit on the boat increases or decreases the amount of motion you experience. The front and rear of the boat experience the most amount of movement; therefore, standing there increases the likelihood of developing sea sickness.
Conversely, the middle of the boat is the most “calm,” and if you’re starting to feel the onset of seasickness (or you’re concerned about it), this is the region for you. Many anglers recommend that you don’t lie down as this increases the risk of sea sickness.
However, while some anglers argue that sitting or lying down makes nausea worse, others might nap in the middle of the boat. Our bodies work differently, so if you feel seasick, try moving to the middle of the boat (away from the sides).
If that doesn’t work, try sitting or lying down. If there is an improvement, fantastic; otherwise, try a different position. Some even recommend that you keep moving as this distracts your mind from the unpleasant feeling.
While watching the waves crash against the side of the boat is usually mesmerizing, allowing your eyes to linger on the view might increase your chances of getting seasick. Try not to look at your line in the water/the tip of your rod as it may aggravate the feeling too.
To prevent the unfortunate development of feeling ill and to alleviate the symptoms, you should focus on a stable point on the horizon (particularly if you see land). This “anchor point” helps your brain interpret the mixed signals it may receive.
If you are prone to seasickness or feel its onset, do not go below deck, as it will worsen the situation. The fresh air outside is also helpful in preventing seasickness.
While fishing alone on a boat is never a wise or recommended plan, if you suffer from seasickness, then all the more reason to take someone along with you.
If you become seasick, you might become (mostly) incapacitated, which quickly becomes dangerous.
A friend/fishing companion can help you by keeping you hydrated, repositioning you around the boat, or helping make a judgment call to head back to shore before the sea sickness becomes severe.
Whenever possible, don’t go out on a boat alone.