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  • Writer's pictureDona Capara

Burial at Sea and Sea Sickness

Updated: Oct 17, 2022

What you may not know about Sea Sickness and how to best avoid getting sick.

sea sickness during a burial at sea

Will I get sick? A very common question to which I answer, "If you take a few precautions you should be fine."

Obviously there are no guarantees, and the captain can only do so much to keep the ship as steady as possible. But let's take a look at what causes sea sickness or motion sickness and some helpful hints for yourself and other attendees of the burial at sea.


What Causes Sea Sickness?

Motion sickness happens when the body, the inner ear, and the eyes send conflicting signals to the brain. This most often happens when you are in a car, boat, or airplane, but it may also happen on flight simulators or amusement park rides. From inside a ship's cabin, your inner ear may sense rolling motions that your eyes cannot see. On the other hand, your eyes may see movement on a "virtual reality" ride that your body does not feel. Even viewing a 3D movie may cause symptoms of motion sickness.


Signs and Symptoms

  • Nausea

  • Pale skin

  • Cold sweats

  • Vomiting

  • Dizziness

  • Headache

  • Increased salivation

  • Fatigue


Tips for preventing or relieving sea sickness while on board for the ocean burial ceremony.

  1. Stay outside of the cabin and keep your eye on the horizon.

  2. Take deep and slow breaths.

  3. Depending on the style of vessel, position yourself as near the bow (front) to look forward.

  4. Limit any readings or prayers where printed material is distributed to one or two. Better yet, have one or two individuals memorize the selections and recite them.

  5. When possible have music playing to shift the focus from the sounds of the ocean to familiar tunes.

What if I, or one of my guests, begin to get sick?

This is the part of the conversation I get to recant a dialogue I had with an old sea captain. I don't remember how we got onto the topic of sea sickness, but in his finest "Old Captain" gravely voice he said, "When I was a young boy I worked on a trawler. I was sick for days and finally the captain grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and had me bite down on a lemon. This is a true story and after researching if lemon works, I happened upon this.

  1. Lemons contain citric acid, which calms the stomach and prevents vomiting. During travelling suck lemon wedges or smell the lemon to get relief.

  2. Crackers, I always recommend to my clients they bring crackers both for themselves and their guests.

  3. You’re more likely to get sick on an empty stomach. Before and during a trip, eat easily digestible foods like crackers to fill and settle your stomach. We recommend salty or savory rather than sweet. They help to prevent nausea and vomiting.

  4. Ginger candy or ginger ale. Ginger cures nausea and aids in digestion.

  5. Peppermint also helps aid in nausea, so bring plenty for yourself and others.

  6. Sea-Band Wrist Band is an easy-to-wear, acupressure-inspired product has a plastic bead that presses against the Nei-Kuan pressure point located on the palm side of the wrist. Effective in curbing nausea and vomiting without any side effects, it comes in both adult and children's sizes and can even be used by pregnant women. Sea-Bands are available without a prescription at major drug stores.

  7. Drug Remedies - One of the most widely recommended remedies is Transderm Scop, a scopolamine patch applied behind the ear at least eight hours before exposure, with effectiveness for up to three days. Available only by prescription, the Scop is preventive, not a treatment, and can cause possible side effects such as dry mouth, blurry vision, drowsiness and dizziness. Over-the-counter drugs used to deter and/or treat mal de mer include Dramamine, Meclizine (common name Bonine) or diphenhydramine (commonly known as Benadryl). Remember that the most common side effect of taking Bonine and Benadryl is drowsiness, and alcohol will exacerbate this. For kids, less potent versions of both Benadryl and Bonine are available as well. Of course, we recommend that you talk with your doctor before giving your children any new medications. Stronger, more effective prescription drugs can only be obtained from a physician.


If all else fails, being sea sick passes when the motion stops. The average duration of a sea burial service is just over an hour to two hours.

Teraloom is here to answer all of your questions.

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