Been daysailing on 20-35ft keelboats once a month for about 2 years. Had never been seasick before, but last time conditions were not as nice as before and I got pretty sick - super tired, generally useless.

From what I understand, everyone has their limit, and I guess I know mine now. The question I have is, how often should I plan on going out if I want to improve?

I guess going out again and "working my way up" through gradually harsher conditions would help, but I don't know if the frequency at which I'm able to go out now (about once a month) is enough for me to build up any tolerance. (Plan B is to not try work up towards anything, just avoid going out when I know it's likely I'll get sick)

Thanks in advance for your insights

2 Answers 2


I have been sailing on a one-night overnight trip on the Tres Hombres, which is a ocean crossing trading ship without an engine. All on board except the captain and one passenger were seasick.

One of the crew members told me the next day that in extreme weather, like we had that night, getting seasick just happens however much you have been at sea but it wears off on longer crossings. Some people just do not get it.

So I doubt that any tolerance building will work against getting sick in extreme weather.

  • Link in Dutch, I could not find a Wikipedia link in English.
    – Willeke
    Mar 4 at 5:52
  • 1
    Oh, best to delete these comment then please, Mod. Mar 4 at 14:42
  • 2
    I guess that them being in a comment by someone else makes it clear I am not spamming the company.
    – Willeke
    Mar 4 at 14:43
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    @Willeke Because the sea-sickness in your example did not affect two among those on-board. Presumably, the captain and the one passenger had spent more time building tolerance than the others. Also, the crew member who said, "You can't avoid getting sick," was biased, because he was among those who had gotten sick. He had every reason to save face! Perhaps he had spent half as much time as the captain at sea. Perhaps much less. I have no idea whether tolerance can be built, but there are many holes in your argument that it can't.
    – jpaugh
    Mar 5 at 6:27
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    Some people do not get seasick, however much or little they were been at sea, so the fact two people were not sick is no proof. And I believe the crew member who told me the facts, she had no reason to lie, being mostly in the office for the company.
    – Willeke
    Mar 5 at 8:54

There are general tips in order to avoid or minimize seasickness. If possible, try to:

  • be warm
  • be dry
  • be well rested
  • eat enough
  • drink enough water
  • be as close to the ship's centre of gravity as possible
  • try to use your legs and balance to counter the ship's motion. Or at least try to absorb some of the motion. Experience with slacklining could help.

If it's safe to do so:

  • stay outside
  • and look far away at the horizon.

If you have to stay inside the boat:

  • lay down
  • and close your eyes.
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    I think your unbulleted "be where you can see a horizon" is quite important, so that your eyes understand what your ears (balance sensing canals) and stomach tell you. I also offer: be as close to the ship's centre of gravity as possible, to minimise the up/down motion. Also, if you are sick on deck, chuck it over the leeward side. Mar 4 at 12:08
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    I think it also helps to find your "sea legs", that is, a sense of balance to counter the ship's motion. For me, standing, near the ship's centre, on deck, is the place to be. Mar 4 at 12:18
  • @WeatherVane: Thanks for the feedback! I added your suggestion. I've got pretty good "sea legs" but they feel really weird after a few days at sea, when I walk on land again. Mar 4 at 12:35
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    Yeah: it feels like you're still going up and down! Mar 4 at 12:36

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