Channel Swimming Association

Providing the ultimate package for Swimming the English Channel

Your First Steps...

Read our Step by Step Guide on how
to swim the English Channel with the
Channel Swimming Association.

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Sea Sickness

Have you ever been seasick?

No I hear you say!!! You may not think you will suffer from seasickness during your swim, as it has never happened to you before on boats. Do bear in mind however; that the pilot boat you will be travelling on will be going at a mere 1 or 2 knots. This is very slow and causes the boat to bob around like a cork. It not only goes up and down but also left and right. The feeling of nausea and even vertigo is due to the motion of the boat. The accepted way to minimise this effect is by making visual reference to surrounding objects, such as the horizon.

Seasickness is particularly common on relay teams when swimmers spend a substantial amount of time on the boat and if one person is seasick it tends to affect other members as well. If you are lucky enough you will probably be the only one of your team who is not feeling seasick. However, don’t assume that because you have been OK for most of the swim that it isn’t going to happen. It only takes one mouthful inadvertently swallowed at the wrong moment to cause a volcano to erupt inside your stomach. For some swimmers feeling seasick on a boat, the seasickness can be alleviated upon entering the water for a swim but for others, it is many times worse.

One of the first problems when seasickness strikes, is that your feeding schedule becomes affected. If you are sick, you will of course lose all the energy giving food you are trying to cram in and sadly you will not feel like replenishing stocks. Once you are sick, it is very difficult for most people to suddenly feel better. Better to take precautions in the first instance.

Prevention

  • It is best to take precautions in plenty of time, before you leave dry land.
  • Try to keep your mind occupied on something other than the boat, talk to people and try to anticipate the movement of the vessel.
  • Fix your eyes on the horizon.
  • Take anti-sickness medication – this is personal preference. Some people take tablets such as ‘Sea Legs’ and claim they are very good; others buy bracelets.
  • Lie down and close your eyes.
  • Suck on crystallised ginger, ginger tea and biscuit.

The main message here is just be mindful that it MIGHT happen to you and make sure you are PREPARED if such an incident does happen. Take supplies with you; go out on a small boat in wavy conditions prior to your swim at slow speed and then you will experience how you might feel.