Seasickness among Icelandic seamen

PLoS One. 2022 Aug 26;17(8):e0273477. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0273477. eCollection 2022.


Introduction: The working environment abroad a ship is unique, with constant stimuli such as rolling of the vessel, noise, and vibration. Fishing industry is important for Icelandic economy, still the effect of seasickness-related symptoms on seamen´s health is not fully understood. Thus, the objective of this study is to explore the impact of seasickness-related symptoms, i.e., seasickness, seasickness symptoms and mal de débarquement on seaman´s health, and how their working environment may affect those factors.

Methods: Cross-sectional data was collected from 262 seamen answering questionnaire. Majority of the seamen participated while attending a compulsory course held by the Maritime Safety and Survival Training Centre. The majority of participants were men. A chi-square test was used to detect the difference between variables.

Results: The majority of seamen had experienced seasickness (87.8%) or mal de débarquement (85.8%). Having a history of tension headache (38.1%) and tinnitus (37.9%) was quite common. A total of 30.6% of the participants had been admitted to hospital once or more due to mishaps or accidents on land.

Discussion: Seasickness and seasickness symptoms together with mal de débarquement are common in Icelandic seamen. Working conditions at sea are demanding and seam to affect the seamen´s health both at sea and ashore, making further research needed.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iceland
  • Male
  • Motion Sickness*
  • Travel-Related Illness

Supplementary concepts

  • Mal de debarquement

Grants and funding

The author(s) received no specific funding for this work.