Sea Sickness

Sea Sickness

Sea sickness is a major factor in whether to travel by ferry or not. A lot of people will not even entertain the idea of this mode of travel due to the fear of its effects. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are many forms of medication you can take (and some more natural remedies) which can lessen or even stop the seasickness from occurring.

What is Seasickness?

Seasickness is the reaction of your body’s inner ear balance system to the unfamiliar motion of a ships movement. The movement of the ship causes stress on the balancing portion of the brain. Your brain knows things like doors and walls are stationary and do not move. But because they are moving (due to the movements of the ships, the inner ear gets confused and nausea sets in.

The movement of a ship can occur in six ways: Heave – vertical up/down movement, Swaying – transverse movement (side to side)  Surging – longitudinal movement (forwards and backwards), Roll –  longitudinal tilting movement (port – starboard), Pitching – transverse tilting movement (bow – stern) and Yaw – vertical turning rotation.

Who can get seasickness?

The short answer is anyone. It’s not bound by gender, age or race. It affects us all. Most people in their lifetime will experience some form of motion sickness, whether it be in a car, plane, ferry, fair-ground ride and even travel into space.

So what can I do?

There are two approaches you can take: either prescribed or over the counter medication or take a more natural “old wives tales” approach.


There are many over the counter options for seasickness tablets. The most common include: Kwells and Sturgeon. Always consult the pharmacist prior to buying to check they are suitable for you. You can also have medication prescribed by the doctor which will be a stronger concentration. Seasickness tablets must be started PRIOR to you journey, ie. Before the seasickness begins, otherwise there is no point.

*Please note: None of the team here at Ferry to Europe come from a medical background. These are just a few hints and tips we have tried along the way. Always consult a medical professional prior to taking any form of medication.

Home style / Old wives tales Remedies

If you aren’t keen on taking medication, why not try out a few of these more “natural” remedies to help you through your journey:

1) Ginger – Ginger is a great spice for combatting seasickness. The ginger flavour is believed to combat the nausea. The best way to take it, is in biscuit form – any excuse to buy ginger nuts really! (you can take it in tablet form or as a tea)

2) Stay outside if possible – If you are feeling seasick, head up onto the deck and breath in some fresh air. Take a moment to close your eyes, centre your breathing and try to relax. Focus on the horizon, which isn’t moving.

3) Distraction – Why not try to take your mind off it. Chat with travel companions or fellow passengers. Listen to some music.

4) Put the book / phone / tablet down – This goes back to the sensory disconnect between the inner ear and eyes. If you’re focusing on something up close, you may make your symptoms worse.

5) Travel sickness bands – These can bought from all major retailers. They are worn on the wrist and consist of a plastic stud which you position on your inner wrist on a specific pressure point. The pressure exerted by this plastic stud on this point will help to relieve any nausea and vomiting.

6) Avoid a heavy meal before travelling – If you know you suffer from seasickness, try avoiding a heavy meal before travelling, and opt for a lighter option. Some people find it useful to avoid dairy or greasy foods while travelling, as this adds to the sickness feeling as it takes a long time to digest in the stomach.

7) Fizzy Drinks – That’s right, your favourite can of full fat Irn-Bru or Coca-Cola can actually help. When the stomach is upset, the carbonation in soda can relieve gas build-up and dilute acids that cause queasiness. Probably the only time burping in public may actually be acceptable.