Monday, October 23, 2017

Stay Alert, Boaters!

August 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

stay alert title

It’s easy to relax while spending a day on your boat. However, you cannot always surrender completely to relaxation, as being on a boat requires alertness and attention. Sun, alcohol, skipping meals, and dehydration lead to diminished focus, muscle cramps, disorientation, and an inability to concentrate — the opposite of what you need if you’re navigating the boat or called to action to avoid a mishap. Boaters should utilize simple preventive strategies to help stay alert.

It’s easy to overlook the importance of hydration in order to stay alert.  Fluids are essential for cooling your body, maintaining your blood volume, eliminating toxins, and transporting nutrients.  Your body cannot fully function without sufficient fluids, resulting in fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, cramps, loss of concentration, and/or decreased reaction time. Fluid replenishment depends on your overall health, the time of day, whether you are out in the sun or shade, your activity level, the temperature, and the humidity.

Don’t rely on how you feel to replace lost fluids. In general, boaters should consume a minimum of four ounces of hydrating fluid every 30 minutes, so if you were out for four hours, you would need to drink at least 32 ounces of fluids to stay hydrated. Bodies lose electrolytes when we sweat, so it’s important to consider making a sports drink one of your beverage selections to replace lost sodium, potassium, and carbohydrates (talk to a doctor about your specific needs). Beer, wine, and distilled spirits cannot be counted as replacement fluids, as alcohol is more dehydrating then hydrating, and drinking alcohol will increase the speed at which you become dehydrated (as well as greatly diminish your reaction time).

Balancing energy, concentration, and alertness through food is also vital — incorporate the “Alert Dozen” foods and way of eating into your day:

  1. Nuts, including walnuts
  2. Dark chocolate
  3. Avocados
  4. Whole grains
  5. Water
  6. Kale, chard, watercress, spinach, other dark green leafy vegetables
  7. Citrus fruits and other fresh fruits
  8. Beans
  9. Eggs
  10. Fortified milk and fortified cereal
  11. Salmon, sardines, cold-water fish
  12. Small and nutritionally balanced meals

Don’t skimp on nutritious foods, then attempt to maintain alertness through supplements. Supplements don’t always produce the results promised on the bottle, and some can be dangerous alone or when interacting with medications. Nature’s nutrients, found in foods, provide us with the right combos of what we need so we can stay alert, flexible, and responsive out on the water.

By Marlisa Brown

Marlisa Brown MS, RD, CDE, CDN, is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Chef, and author of Gluten-Free, Hassle-Free and Easy, Gluten-Free. She is also president of Total Wellness Inc., a private nutritional consulting company.  For more information about gluten-free diets or Marlisa Brown, go to and



MS, RD, CDE, CDN is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, chef, and author of The Gluten-Free Hassle-Free Cookbook, Gluten-Free, Hassle-Free and Easy, Gluten-Free. For private nutritional consulting and more information, contact her via and

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