Many divers experience seasickness while spending time on boats in between dives, be it on the way to the dive site or during their surface interval. This type of motion sickness occurs when the inner ear detects motion but the eyes can’t confirm the motion. If it’s severe, seasickness can ruin a diver’s day. Luckily there are lots of ways to help prevent this queasy feeling and cope with it if you do feel sick. Here are our top tips to avoid seasickness next time you’re on the water.
Know your seasickness medication
Not all seasickness tablets are created equally, with a variety of options available. Tablets containing cinnarizine can cause drowsiness. Tablets containing hyoscine do not and may be a better option for some divers. Try your chosen medication a day or two before diving to check for drowsiness or reactions to the medication before finding out it doesn’t suit you underwater.
Homeopathic seasickness remedies are available for those who don’t want to take medication. Ginger sweets also work to reduce nausea; divers should keep some handy in their gear bags just in case.
Change your posture
Sitting up and looking at the horizon is a well-known seasickness remedy. Fewer people know that lying down is also an excellent cure for severe seasickness when you can’t remain upright and diving is not an option. Choose a quiet location with minimal disturbance and remain lying down until the boat returns to shore.
Choose the right position on the boat
Divers should position themselves in the fresh air, away from boat fumes, and on the lower deck of the boat where there is less motion. Sitting or lying down toward the back of the boat can also help. Choosing the right spot at the start of the trip helps minimize the chances of seasickness occurring in the first place.
Eat well and stay hydrated
Eat a healthy and easily digestible breakfast before diving, such as oatmeal, which can help prevent seasickness. Divers should avoid greasy, fatty foods before diving and make sure they drink plenty of water throughout the day. Electrolyte sachets can be useful in hot climates or when a diver becomes dehydrated from vomiting. Salted crackers are also a good choice for those feeling unwell.
Avoid alcohol before and during diving, as it dehydrates the body and increases susceptibility to seasickness.
Apply the right pressure
Sea bands worn on the wrists help prevent seasickness by pressing on the Nei-Kuan acupressure point, located underneath the first finger between the two wrist tendons. Pressure on this point can effectively reduce nausea.
Seek assistance from other divers
Those who feel sick but still want to dive should ask their dive buddy to assemble their gear for them. Looking down and concentrating on setting up your gear can worsen symptoms, so a buddy’s help can make a big difference.
Don’t linger in choppy waters
When entering the water for a dive, descend to the site promptly with the group rather than linger on the surface. The motion of the waves on the surface can worsen symptoms. Seasick divers may want to be the last one to enter the water and the first one to exit, reducing time at the surface.
Eating a small amount of chocolate, or other sugary food, is a surprisingly effective seasickness remedy for those suffering with mild symptoms. And it’s delicious as well.
If you need to be sick, let it out
If you must vomit it’s best to let it happen. Find a quiet spot to do so over the side of the boat, and be aware of wind direction. If a diver is underwater and needs to be sick, it is okay to vomit through a regulator.
Change your dive habits
If seasickness is a continual problem, a diver may want to book day dives only on boats in calm locations, or choose shore dives where they can minimize their exposure to choppy waters. There are lots of idyllic destinations that offer shore diving in warm, calm waters.