Vertigo after sailing a nineteenth century ship

J Vestib Res. 1996 Jan-Feb;6(1):31-5.


Few papers describe illusions of motion after sailing for which subjects do not seek medical assistance. After sailing on a square-rigged ship for five-hour periods subjects were surveyed about the incidence, intensity, and quality of such illusions. Even on a calm day, 20% to 41% of the crew experienced post-sailing vertigo, but it only occurred among the nonprofessional sailors. This phenomenon is characterized by extinction with repeated exposure, a lag time to onset of about two hours, brief duration, and occurrence in enclosed visual surrounds. These data are similar to vestibular habituation and suggest that some central vestibular mechanisms may be involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Illusions / physiology
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology
  • Naval Medicine
  • Ships*
  • Vertigo / etiology*
  • Vertigo / physiopathology