Wednesday, January 22nd, 2020
Maggie here, from Picton Castle’s shore crew. I wasn’t always shore crew, I first joined Picton Castle as a trainee back in 2005. One of the things I was concerned about was seasickness. As it turns out, my concerns were valid because I did indeed suffer from seasickness.
There’s no way to know who will be seasick and who won’t. There’s a pretty good chance that at some point you’ll feel at least a bit queasy. Even the most experienced mariners have admitted privately that they’ve felt the mal de mer in certain conditions.
The good news is that except in very rare cases, seasickness doesn’t last forever. Although you’ll feel awful, it’s comforting to know that you’ll eventually get past it. The other good news is that there are many remedies for seasickness. As part of our crew packing list, we suggest bringing what you think will work for you just in case you’re seasick. You might never need it, but it’s better to have it just in case.
So what does it look like/feel like to be seasick? Some people just feel tired. Some feel nauseated. Some people throw up, some don’t. At the time, admittedly, it feels pretty miserable.
In my case, I started to feel poorly a few hours out from our first port and continued to be seasick for the next four days. I still stood my watches and participated as best I could, while taking the occasional break to go throw up over the lee rail. Upon setting sail from our second port, I was seasick for three days. Then the port after that for two days, then by our fourth port, I was sick only for a day. Finally, by the fifth port, I felt fine when we set sail. I do still get seasick every time I go back to sea after a break on land, but at least I know that I’ve always recovered in the past and will again.
So how do we handle seasickness on board? We start by asking you to bring whatever you think it is that will prevent seasickness for you. If you’ve ever had motion sickness before and found something that works to help prevent or treat it, bring that. If you haven’t had motion sickness before, you could try any number of potential remedies. Different people have found different things effective, everything from scopolamine patches worn behind the ear to Gravol or Bonamine, wristbands that stimulate pressure points, ginger candies, lozenges or cookies, wristbands with magnets, and on.
There are some other things that may be helpful too. Fresh air, and getting on deck where you can see the horizon is helpful for most people. Smells, particularly strong ones, can aggravate sea sickness, so fresh air on deck helps with that too. Many people feel more ill when they’re reading, either a book or on a screen, so perhaps avoid that. Avoid eating or drinking anything on board that ordinarily might upset your stomach on land too.
We continually monitor the health of our crew, so when people are seasick we’re looking out for dehydration or other possible complications. If all other options have been exhausted, we have medications in our ship’s medical kit that can be administered other than orally that will help deal with nausea so you can slowly resume eating and drinking.
Looking for some other ways to prevent or treat seasickness? Check out this list of 50 methods on the professional mariner blog gCaptain. https://gcaptain.com/seasickness-ways-tackle/