Top 5 ways to deal with seasickness

It’s a common phenomenon to feel seasick, purely because of a yacht’s motion on the water. If you suffer from it, your dream cruise can be easily transformed into a nightmare – or your crew job on board can be made even more challenging.

It is worth mentioning that seasickness is not a recent problem. Ancient Greeks used to refer to it as ‘plague of the sea’ and the majority of mariners have admitted that have suffered at least once from seasickness.

Upper deck of superyacht

A modern yacht’s stabilisers and gyros help to limit the symptoms of seasickness and ensure as smooth a ride as possible, but unfortunately it doesn’t guarantee that people won’t experience it from time to time.

So, what causes seasickness and what can be done to treat it?

What causes seasickness?

According to scientists, seasickness is caused by conflicting messages that the brain receives in relation to the position of the body. For instance, during cruising, moves are detected by the inner ear with the labyrinthine system, while the visual system with the eyes does not perceive it. In this case the brain receives different and conflicting messages about the position and movement of the body.

How can seasickness be defeated?

Here are our five top tips for avoiding and/or overcoming seasickness on board.

1) Ears and eyes should have the same direction

During cruising, it’s really important for the eyes to see the same movement that the inner ear will detect. As a result, when traveling by a yacht and you have a nausea problem, the most efficient thing to do is go to the deck and not the lower levels of the vessel and look away on the horizon – ideally with fresh air blowing at your face.

This trick will help you focus on something other than the motion, which could be helpful to reset your internal equilibrium as the horizon will be the only stationary.

Extra tip: An experienced captain tells us that in a case of seasickness, the best thing to do is to stand next to the captain while he/she is steering the yacht as you can see the horizon and the movements approaching.

2) Avoid reading or using your mobile phone

Reading, whether it’s on your phone, iPad, computer or on paper, can be an open invitation for seasickness.

If a situation arises where you have to read or use your mobile, try to read small portions at a time with frequent breaks to look up towards the horizon.

3) Close your eyes and try to get some sleep

The majority of people are of the opinion that seasickness is actually a confused brain by too many mixed signals. As a result, if you fall asleep you will reduce these signals by removing hearing and vision. Additionally, lying down prevents histamine from reaching the brain.

Not necessarily practical for yacht crew, but for the owner, their family or guests, this could be the ideal antidote.

Man being sick overboard

4) Grab a snack

Most of us feel better with a little food in our stomach. Choose light snacks that you know your body can handle. Try to avoid salt and sugar. Bread, sauces, pancakes, green apples are better foods than eggs and bacon. Also try to avoid coffee and orange juice, as they are acidic and can irritate your stomach. In general, try to eat as light as possible.

5) Medical Support

There are medications you can take to treat or prevent the problem of seasickness. Some of them require a prescription while others do not.

Always consult your doctor to discuss the issue of seasickness and let them ascertain which medication will suit you the most.

Superyacht captains and crew seasickness tips

We spoke to some superyacht captains and crew who have shared some extra top tips with us:


Maybe one of the simplest and most efficient ways to defeat dizziness, an experienced superyacht captain with many years’ experience admitted to us.

Avoid Heat

Try to avoid overheating and make sure your head is not exposed to the sun. This advice has helped a lot of guests and crew to avoid seasickness.

Avoid drinking too much of water

The movements will make the water in your stomach move a lot and this can contribute to you feeling seasick. “Eat only crackers and slowly”, one captain told us.

Avoid visiting the engine room

The combination of bad weather and the fumes in the engine room can cause dizziness. So, a piece of advice for crew is to make the necessary checks before departure.

Read through our helpful superyacht crew recruitment tips and general crew advice to find out everything you need to know ahead of a career on board.

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