April 29, 2022
By George LaBonte
The idea of bringing a hammock along on any boating trip might immediately conjure up images of sand bar mayhem complete with reggae music, tropical drinks, and an afternoon nap in the shade while the kids play in the water. I’d wager this is exactly where 98 percent of them get used.
For me they bring back memories from my youth of spending multiple days at sea on a commercial fishing boat. I recall a crew member who actually knitted himself a hammock out of net twine- and how some greenhorn crew members teased the veteran over it. All teasing ceased abruptly the first night at sea when 40-knot wind and towering seas sent the nauseous young crew members to the rail while the veteran slept like a baby in his hammock unaffected by the motion of that rolling boat.
This memory has served me well over the years whenever I spend the night drifting for swordfish or on some overnight trip miles away on the Gulf of Mexico bottom fishing. Many of the saltiest people I know who never seem bothered by sea sickness completely break down when you add darkness into the equation. Boating at night removes one of the three tools that your body uses to keep track of its position, vision.
The way you avoid sea sickness is by using your eyes to keep track of your environment (horizon) while your inner ear (vestibular system) detects circular and linear motion. One checks in with the other to help stabilize your vision. A rocking boat in the darkness removes the horizon (your orientation point) so that signal tells your inner ear that you’re stable- contrary to what your inner ear is experiencing. The net result is motion induced nausea.
A simple workaround for this problem for many overnight sport anglers could be the use of a portable hammock that stretches between a pair of rod holder mounted Low Country Hammock Stands (www.boathammockstand.com). Whether for a quick power nap or to relieve the effects of motion sickness, the hammock acts as a stabilizer to eliminate the nausea inducing motion onboard. It can be stored away in a small bag when not in use and its effectiveness is simply remarkable. This concept has salvaged many a night trip when returning to the dry land is not an option. They say the worst thing about sea sickness is knowing you’re not going to die from it. If you’ve ever been there you’d agree. If this has been a problem that prevents you from enjoying overnight excursions a hammock/stand that is convenient and portable will change your life.