I RATHER SUSPECT that the number of people taking part in the sport of sailing or powerboating would be far greater if it weren’t for one thing — seasickness. Anyone who has been seasick can testify that it is an affliction so horrible that there are hardly words to describe it.
“Seasickness is an unpredictable menace to comfort,” said Rear Admiral Louis B. Olson, U.S. Coast Guard Commander of the Third Coast Guard District, in his book, Small Boat Seamanship, in 1956. He claimed to know something about seasickness, having suffered from it himself, and having associated with all kinds of seamen for 40 years; and he offered the following observations “for what they are worth:”
“Some very few persons, possibly one in a thousand, are so susceptible that they should remain on terra firma and never go out to sea even on relatively smooth days,” he maintained.
“Others, still few in number, may go out in ordinary weather with little discomfort but should avoid any rough-weather passage.
“The vast majority can go out in any kind of weather with varying degrees of discomfort. This discomfort varies somewhat with the individual but more with the circumstances. For these individuals:
“(1) Discomfort decreases with the passage of time; that is, a person adjusts to the new situation and finally his system accepts the new conditions without any noticeable ill effects.
“(2) This adjustment is eased and may take place without any appreciable discomfort if the passage begins smoothly and the change to rough weather is gradual.
“(3) Physical health and mental sense of well-being help to decrease susceptibility; avoid excesses of fatigue, loss of sleep, drink, and rich food before a passage.
“(4) Activity and interest in work sometimes help to decrease susceptibility; rest and sleep help in other cases; fresh air and sunshine are good; confinement below decks in poorly ventilated bunk spaces is not good.
“(5) Dramamine and other remedies such as Bonamine help by inducing rest and acting as sedatives.
“(6) Susceptibility varies with conditions: some individuals are more affected by deep pitching; others by rolling; some on small craft with frequent quick ship movements, while others are more affected by the slower movements of large craft with the greater total range of movement.
“Usually this discomfort eases over the years. I know of no case where it became more noticeable with age.”
Well, medicines for the prevention and cure of seasickness have improved since Admiral Olson’s day, of course. For example, the ear patch containing Scopolamine, originally used by astronauts, has made a world of difference for me. I get sick very easily, but I do get used to it eventually.
Incidentally, I think there is one point that Admiral Olson overlooked. It is my firm conviction that people of fine breeding, acute sensibilities, and high intelligence — the sort of men who are better looking and more attractive to women — are also more prone to seasickness. I’m surprised that the Admiral failed to discover this. He should have asked me.
There's not a sea the passenger e'er pukes in,
Turns up more dangerous breakers than the Euxine.
-- Lord Byron, Don Juan
“Your car holds the road very firmly. Does it have a special suspension?”
“Nah, it’s the heavy installments.”
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