Tips For Avoiding Sea Sickness When Snorkeling In Maui



One of the biggest questions we get from passengers is how to avoid getting sea sick. Going snorkeling in Maui or enjoying a Maui sunset sail can be one of the most memorable moments of your vacation, but you want to make sure that it isn't a memory of feeling nauseous and hanging on the rail.

On many of our sails the water is relatively smooth and the catamarans cut through the ocean. For an example of a typical sail off of Lana'i, watch the video below.

On other days the wind can be a little bit stronger and the sea can be a little more jumbled. Though the majority of our sails feature calm seas and glassy waters, there can sometimes be days which look a little like this:

To help keep you fresh and with a settled stomach, here are some tips on how to avoid seasickness when sailing in Maui.

What Causes Sea Sickness?

The first step towards preventing sea sickness is understanding what causes it. While some passengers are more susceptible than others, sea sickness is caused by problems with the equilibrium and sensors in the inner ear. In layman's terms, it's essentially caused when what you're seeing is different than what you're feeling.

So What Can I Do To Avoid Feeling Sick?

Don't worry, there are multiple measures for avoiding sea sickness if you're concerned about not feeling well on the water. Unfortunately, once the symptoms of sea sickness have set in there is little you can do to cure it, so it's important to be proactive and take preventative measures to ensure you stay healthy throughout the day. Here are some of the basics.

1. Avoid Going Below Deck

This is perhaps the most important rule of not feeling sea sick while sailing. Since the nausea is caused by a disconnect in what you're seeing and what you're body is feeling, going below deck means that you're feeling the movement but your eyes don't know where you're going. Instead, a better option is to stay above deck and feel the refreshing breeze on your face. The worst place you can go on a boat when feeling sea sick is down below in the head! This is known as the "Room of Doom" to anyone who is already feeling sea sick, and going in the head will only amplify any effects of nausea. If you do feel the urge to sit below deck (perhaps to escape the sun), be sure to look out from one of the windows and focus your attention outside. This leads us to our second point which is to...

2. Keep Your Eyes On The Horizon

Remember, sea sickness is caused by a difference in what you see and the motions that your body is feeling, so by keeping your eyes on the horizon you are ensuring that they are both in line. During whale season in Maui, this works out perfectly for scanning the horizon for the spouts and splashes of whales.

3. Sit Towards The Back Of The Boat

On wide, stable catamarans such as those in the Trilogy fleet, the bow of the boat (the front, pointy end) will be a little more "bouncy" than the stable area at the stern (the back of the boat). If you're concerned about feeling sea sick when sailing in Maui, the seat next to the Captain is the best place to be to ensure the smoothest conditions (although you'll have to endure the Captain's bad jokes...)

back of the boat with border

back of the boat with border

4. Stay Hydrated 

Drinking water and staying hydrated is important is staving off sea sickness. If you think you're allergic to the motion of the ocean and are concerned about feeling ill, also avoid drinks which are known to dehydrate you such as coffee, tea, or alcohol.

5. Take Preventative Action With Medicine or Ginger Pills

On all of Trilogy's sailing tours in Maui we offer complimentary remedies to combat sea sickness. For the all-natural route, ginger pills and ginger candy have been proven to counteract the nausea and symptoms of sea sickness. Ginger has actually long been used as a Chinese cure for morning sickness, and since it's an all-natural remedy there aren't as many side effects as are found with modern medicine. (*Ginger shouldn't be taken by anyone on a blood thinner, and since Trilogy staff aren't licensed medical professionals, anyone taking remedies should read the back of the box/label before choosing to use the remedy).



While ginger is an effective all-natural route, those who prefer the potency of medicine should look into taking preventative medication. Trilogy offers Dramamine free of charge for anyone concerned about sea sickness, and other brands such as Bonine and Marazine are also effective remedies.

6. Lie Down With Your Head Facing The Bow

If the effects of sea sickness are starting to creep in, and your stomach is feeling a bit queasy, lying down with your head facing the bow can help with your motion receptors. Closing your eyes is also a big help, and by facing the bow you make sure your body is subject to the same movement as the boat.

7. Arch Your Back, Chin Up, And Shoot For Distance!!

If it feels like you're going to lose the battle and the sea sickness is going to win out, sometimes the only way to start feeling better is to temporarily feel a bit worse. Vomiting is an unfortunate side effect of moderate to severe sea sickness, and if it seems that it's reaching "the point of no return" the best thing to do is head to the downwind rail and shoot for the distant horizon! Our understanding crew members will be more than happy to get you all cleaned up, although by following all of the points outlined above it should rarely come to that point.

Have any questions about sea sickness while sailing or have any tips of  your own? Leave us a note in the comments below and we'd love to hear what you think! 

[Photo Credits: richardobeirne on Flickr, MadebyMark on Flickr]

Understanding Maui's Day Use Moorings

Mooring in Maui

Mooring in Maui

If you’ve ever been on one of our Molokini, Kaanapali, Lana’i Seafari, or Lahaina Picnic Sail trips then you have witnessed the boat being tied up to a mooring. This action occurs when, upon arriving at the desired snorkeling location, a Trilogy crewmember jumps into the water, locates the mooring, and is subsequently thrown an extremely long line which will be used to hold the boat in place. Oftentimes this involves the crewmember needing to dive down anywhere from 5-40 ft. to either retrieve the mooring shackle or run a line directly through the mooring itself.

Seems simple right?

Well, on most of our excursions we’ve noticed that passengers frequently have questions about this process, so we’re here to walk you through the history of day use moorings, why we use them, and a take a more detailed look at the process involved.

Diving on a mooring in Maui

Diving on a mooring in Maui

First Off, What Is A Mooring?

Moorings frequently are comprised of either a pin in the ocean floor or a stationary object such as a block of concrete. Attached to the base is a massive chain which usually leads up to a big plastic float resting about 7-12 ft. below the surface (so that boats don’t get them caught in their propellers or wrapped around their rudders). Attached to this plastic float is another tag line which dangles in the water when unused, and a large metal eye splice usually found on the end. This is the eye splice which the line from the boat will run through, eventually being run back to the boat and tied to the desired length.

At locations such as Mokulei’a Bay (Slaughterhouse Beach), Olowalu, or Kaunolu on the island of Lana’i, often times only a single mooring off of the bow of the boat is employed. In locations such as Molokini Crater or Honolua Bay which see a greater amount of boat traffic, mooring lines are connected to both the stern and the bow of the boat so as to prevent the boat from pivoting and unnecessary movement.

A mooring at Cathedrals on Lanai

A mooring at Cathedrals on Lanai

So Why Do We Use Them?

Prior to the establishment of mooring systems at island snorkeling spots vessels were left with only two options: Set an anchor, or simply drift. Since most people like to find their boats where they left them, nearly all boats would opt to lay anchor and use them as a means of staying in one place.

The problem with this, however, is that anchors have the potential to be catastrophic for the sensitive coral reefs if operated improperly. Anchors can be accidentally dropped on to the reef instead of into the sand, the anchor chain can drag across the coral, and when pulling ahead on an anchor to raise it they can occasionally drag and catch a rock or reef on their course to the surface. With the increasing number of charter boats operating in Maui’s waters, the Maui ocean community opted to look for viable alternatives which didn't involve destroying reefs which house the island’s marine life.

Mooring at Molokini Crater Maui

Mooring at Molokini Crater Maui

So when—and how—were moorings introduced to Maui?

The technology to install mooring pins in the sea floor was first implemented in the Florida Keys in 1981 by divers utilizing an underwater hydraulic drill. Given the success of the mooring programs taking place in Florida the idea for installing day-use moorings eventually migrated to Hawaii, and in 1987 The Ocean Recreation Council of Hawaii (TORCH) began to tackle the idea of instituting this new technology at popular island snorkeling locations. During these formative years Trilogy played an integral role in the establishment of TORCH and the effort towards establishing a system of day-use moorings to help protect our island reefs.

The first  moorings in the Hawaiian Islands were installed off of the Kona coastline in 1987, and by the following year in 1988 there were 30 moorings installed and tested at Molokini Crater. Despite initial success a degree of trepidation and hesitancy continued to surround further implementation. The long-term effect of these moorings still weren't known, and organizations such as TORCH and Sea Grant continued with largely voluntary efforts to prove that this system of moorings was the best possible solution for Hawaii's reefs.

Jerry Garcia

Jerry Garcia

Finally, in 1990 with the help of a $10,000 donation from Grateful Dead front man Jerry Garcia, the Malama Kai foundation was established in an effort to place buoys on the existing mooring pins installed around the state. By 1995 the state realized the success of the moorings and plans were erected to include over 200 more mooring locations throughout the state of Hawaii. When you visit our island snorkeling locations today we continue to tie up to moorings born of these original efforts.

Still interested?

Check out a detailed timeline of Hawaii's day-use moorings  or scour through the Maui County Day-Use Moorings Database to find detailed coordinates and depths of select island moorings.

 Visiting Maui? Check out our main homepage for our full array of snorkeling, sailing,and recreational opportunities.