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Seasickness is a form of motion sic­kness. It's triggered when parts of your body that detect motion, like your eyes and inner ear, send unexpected or conflicting messages to the brain. Another way to say it is that it's a reaction to real, perceived or anticipated motion.

seasick woman on boatmark twain

While the majority of our passengers usually do not experience seasickness, many of our guest’s number one fear is becoming seasick during the trip.

A boat’s movement can cause stress on your balance system which leaves you sick to your stomach, with headaches and feeling the worst you’ve felt in a while (which is why we want you to avoid seasickness on your shark cage diving tour).

But what is seasickness?
Motion sickness is a generic term for the discomfort and associated vomiting induced by a variety of motion conditions, in this case, a boat.

Why do you become seasick?
It's because your feet are telling your brain that you're on solid ground, but you're really rocking and rolling on the high seas. Your brain gets confused; you get sick.

Fortunately, you don’t have to abandon ship. Seasickness and the many factors that affect it can be largely controlled.

seasickness look at the land

Here are a few tips to avoid and cure seasickness.

Look at the Horizon
When you are on a boat at sea everything is moving. The only thing that is stationary is the horizon and looking at it will often reset your internal equilibrium. Fresh air, a breeze and lack of enclosed spaces, can help out a lot with seasickness. Also, loosen any tight clothes.

Stop tinkering with your binoculars, camera, iPad, mobile phone and equipment
At the most basic level, seasickness is a matter of sensory mismatch. When you're sitting on a boat that's rolling on the water, the body, inner ear and eyes all send different signals to the brain. Your brain gets confused and you get queasy. Stop tinkering with your computer and equipment and look out on the horizon, which usually appears very stable. Your peripheral vision will see the ocean swells that you feel. The whole picture will make more sense to your brain

Follow your nose
Motion sickness is often caused by bad smells. Even pleasant smells, like a girlfriend’s perfume, fuel or even the unfamiliar smell of the chum can spark queasiness. So if you smell anything strange, move into fresh air that can help clear up any intense smells that are lingering.

Avoid other seasick people at all cost.

One sure-fire way to get seasick is to watch other people getting sick. Like a schoolyard cold, motion sickness is very contagious. Avoid other seasick people at all cost.

Watch what you eat
Leading up to your trip, eat ‘safe’ foods that you know your body can handle. Avoid anything overly spicy, acidic or fatty and try not to overeat or overdo it on the alcohol before you board the boat. Prior to boarding the boat, the caring ladies at Great White Shark Tours will serve a healthy, non-fatty breakfast for this reason. Bread, bagels, croissants, etc. are better than eggs and bacon.

seasickness

Chew gum and eat sweets
Hey didn’t I just say to avoid sugar? Yes but, just the repetitive motion of chewing, most effective with gum (ginger gum or candy works best), helps relieve symptoms.

Eat Only Saltines
An old sailors myth is, when the seas get rough, eat only saltines. The lunch pack we provide on the boat will include rolls, crisps and crackers

Ginger
Whether you chew it, suck on it or dilute it with tea, ginger has long been a favourite home remedy for motion sickness. Give it a try and, if you believe it works it most probably will!

Tame your tummy.
Have a Coke. It contains phosphoric acid and sugars, the same ingredients you'll find in some over-the-counter anti-nausea tablets

Pop a pill.
Talk to your doctor before your cruise and come prepared with medicine they recommend to help you manage your seasickness. We recommend Stugeron which is available over-the-counter and are recommended to take 24 hours before your trip. After you feel queasy, it may be too late for pills to help, so start 12 to 24 hours before going to sea. This builds up a level of the drug in your body.

sick waveWear an anti-nausea band.
These are adjustable wristbands that apply acupressure to help relieve the symptoms of nausea and vomiting. While some people swear by them, some claim they don’t work as well. Find what works best for your body, but come prepared to try out a few of these different strategies.

Wear a patch.
The patch helps prevent nausea and vomiting from motion sickness with minimal side effects, but it does need a prescription. You simply apply the patch which looks like a Band-Aid behind your ear and it will last for up to three days. The great thing about the patch is that it continues working even after you start to throw-up. As with any medication, we suggest you talk to your doctor first.

Don't try to read.
Avoid Books and Computer Screens – Reading, whether on a device or paper, is a sure-fire way to get you sea-sick. But if you must be sure to read small portions at a time with frequent breaks to look up towards the horizon. If using a computer try a program that reads the text out-loud to avoid fixing your eyes on the screen, or uses an e-ink device (like an Amazon Kindle) which isn’t as bright and doesn’t “flicker” like an iPhone or tablet.

seasick guestClose your eyes
You may have to find a place to stretch out and lie down, in which case you should close your eyes so they aren't giving a no-motion message to your brain.

Be clean and sober
Even a mild hangover can easily degenerate into seasickness, besides increasing various diving risks. Likewise, fatigue predisposes you to seasickness.

Drink water
Between sweating, vomiting and forgetting to eat or drink seasickness can quickly dehydrate you worsening your condition fast. A simpler solution is to drink water and get fresh air before you get dehydrated. There will be plenty of bottled water on the boat during the trip.

Stay out of direct sun
You want to avoid your body overheating, so stay out of direct sunlight and continually sip water to stay hydrated. As you get closer to noon the sun gets stronger and if you aren’t keeping liquids in you, dehydration can bring on symptoms of seasickness

Monitor your breathing
Hyperventilation can lead to a lightness of head and induce many of the symptoms of seasickness. Loosen tight clothes that make you feel restricted. Take deep, controlled breaths and stay calm to prevent hyperventilating. If you still can’t stop then breathing into a paper bag may help.

Relax, stress will make it worse
Anxiety contributes to seasickness. Those who are frightened by the ocean and the movement of the boat, or anxious about the diving later in the day, are more likely to become seasick.

Watch for symptoms
Early signs include chills, headache and frequent burping. Now is the time to go on deck, or move to the lee rail if you're already there. Alert the crew on the boat who are trained to assist you in an uncomfortable situation.

Plan ahead.
All of these techniques work best if you apply them before you need them — to prevent getting motion sick in the first place. So take precautions early.

Seasickness overboard

I'M SEASICK: NOW WHAT?

If you feel the urge, let it go.
You'll feel better almost immediately. Prolonging the inevitable only prolongs the pain.

Don't use a toilet. Or, a trash can.
Go to the rail on the lee (downwind) side If you feel the urge coming, ask a crew member where to go. He or she will know the best place. Don't be embarrassed; you're not the first.

What happens if you do get seasick?
Understanding that you aren’t really sick, just out of balance, is the first step to curing yourself.
Don’t be embarrassed, you aren’t the first and you won’t be the last!

 

Bottomline: When you get seasick on a boat…..find a tree and sit under it

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No. 8 Swart Street, Kleinbaai, Gansbaai, South Africa

GPS: 34° 36'52"S - 19º 21'18"E

Phone: +27 (0) 28 384 1418

Mobile: +27 (0) 83 300 2138

E-Mail:  brian@sharkcagediving.net

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