Scuba Diving With a Hangover

It’s getting late the night before your dive, but your new buddy suggests one more cocktail. What are the implications of scuba diving with a hangover?

It’s getting late when your new dive buddy suggests just one more cocktail before you go to bed in preparation for a full dive day tomorrow. You’re on vacation; there’s a warm, tropical breeze blowing, and the rum punch is delicious, so you agree. But what are the implications of scuba diving with a hangover?

Scuba diving with a hangover

Drinking and diving don’t mix — we’ve all heard the saying, “first drink, last dive,” meaning that once you crack a cold one, your dive day is done. But what if you overdo it one evening after a dive day, with another day underwater yet to come? Drinking and vacations go together like rum and Coke. But no matter when you imbibe, drinking and diving make a less perfect match. Not only will drinking the night before a dive lead to an unpleasant morning, but doing so might also pose a safety risk.

Scuba diving with a hangover often means dehydration and a higher risk of DCS. A hangover can make you feel foggy, influencing your awareness and reaction time in potential emergencies, even if you don’t think so at the time. A hangover will make you feel colder faster and can cause nitrogen narcosis to occur more intensely or at shallower depths.

With that in mind — and knowing that you likely don’t want to skip the cocktails entirely on your next dive vacation — try some of these tips to have a better and safer dive after a night out.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Diving is a very social sport. With that, and the vacation vibes, we tend to drink a bit more than usual. On top of that, no one wants to be the boring one at the bar. But you needn’t match other divers drink for drink. We all get caught in a night out sometimes, but by pacing yourself and drinking smaller drinks — ideally ones with a lower alcohol content — you will still have a good time while consuming less alcohol. Use the money you save on alcohol to give your dive guide a great tip — they will love you for it.

Line your stomach

Eat a proper meal before you start drinking and, while you’re drinking, much on filling snacks to slow down the absorption of alcohol in your body.

One for the diver, one for the dive

Alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic beverage like water, fruit juice or soda. We tend to start drinking a lot earlier while on holiday than we would back home — cocktails often begin at sunset or before. Remember though, that if you start drinking at 4 p.m. and finish at 11 p.m., that’s the equivalent of drinking from 8 p.m. until 3 a.m. in the morning. Recommendations state that you stop drinking 12 hours before your next dive. When it comes down to it, If you feel like you need to take the hair of the dog to function the next day, you should skip the dive and sleep it off. Better to nurse a hangover at the hotel pool than in 60 feet of water. And on your next trip to the bar, take it a bit easier and enjoy your next day underwater.