Offshore Fishing Prep: How is Motion Sickness Caused? How Do You Prevent It?

Motion Sickness, Offshore Fishing, Sea Sick, Sea Sickness -

Offshore Fishing Prep: How is Motion Sickness Caused? How Do You Prevent It?

This weekend we headed south for a change of scenery. This time it wasn’t bowfishing, flounder gigging or even hog hunting. We headed 30 miles offshore to a ship wreck that now acts as a reef for sharks, red snapper, ling, king mackerel, trigger fish, and many other species. We primarily targeted red snapper, but were able to catch shark and ling as well.

Once we transitioned from bay to gulf, the waves grew bigger, the water cleared, and the shoreline slowly disappeared. As we head away from shore, the waves break head-on into the boat. A windy day can make for a long, rough ride especially for those susceptible to motion sickness. The good news is the trip back in is always faster and smoother riding because now you are riding the waves back in instead of going against them. 

During almost every offshore fishing trip I’ve been on, there’s at least one person who gets sea sick. Sea sickness refers to the feeling you get when the motion you sense with your inner ear is different from the motion you visualize. It is a common condition for those traveling in motion whether it be by car, plane, train, boat, etc.


Swamp eye bowfishing light
 

Motion Sickness - How is it caused? Why does it not effect everyone?

Motion sickness and sea sickness are the same thing. It is thought to be caused by conflicting signals in the inner ear, eyes, and sensory receptors. Motion is sensed by the brain through different pathways of the nervous system including the inner ear, the eyes, and the tissue of the body surface. If these organs are not fully functional for you, then it is believed that you may be immune to motion sickness. However, If you don’t get motion sickness that doesn’t mean these organs aren’t properly functioning for you. You could just be lucky! (I’ve wrote blogs on long road trips and have done overnight offshore trips and have never been a victim of motion sickness). 

Tasks That Trigger Motion Sickness:
 
1 - Tying a weight or hook onto a broken fishing line
2 - Writing a blog on a computer while on a long road trip
3 - Reading a book on a long road trip
4 - Reading a GPS while heading offshore

What do these have in common? 

Your eyes are visually concentrating on a stationary object while your other sensory organs are registering movement to your brain. This imbalance results in nausea and sometimes vomiting. 

How Do You Overcome Motion Sickness?

The best way to overcome motion sickness is to sync the balance between your eyes and your ears. For example, if you are on a long road trip, look at the horizon outside of the car windows. If you are on an offshore fishing trip or even lake fishing trip, look at the water horizon. Another option is to chew gum, which has an uncanny ability to help reduce the symptoms of motion sickness. 

Medicinal Remedies for Motion Sickness:

Scopolamine - most commonly prescribed medication, available as a patch to be placed behind ear 6-8 hours before travel. Must be taken before symptoms start. 
Promethazine - should be taken 2 hours before travel, effects last 6-8 hours. Side effects may include drowsiness or dry mouth. 
Cyclizine - most effective when taken minimum of 30 minutes before travel, not recommended for children younger than 6.
Dminhydrinate - take every 4-8 hours.
Dimenhydrinate chewing gum - a team of pharmaceutical scientists conducted a study that showed patients can absorb dimenhydrinate through the cheek. 
Meclizine (Bonine) - most effective when taken 1 hour before travel, not recommended for children under 12 and side effects may include drowsiness and dry mouth. 

This information is based on our personal experiences and research, it has not been proven by any governing authority. If you experience motion sickness you should see your doctor for a professional opinion. 

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