No matter how many times I’ve gone on boat dives, I still experience seasickness every now and then.
I had heard horror stories about people getting seasick while diving and ruining their entire trip.
Thankfully this hasn’t happened to me because I’ve done my own research and come prepared.
In this blog post, I want to share some of the best remedies for seasickness when scuba diving. The tips I will share with you are based on my personal experiences. I also included some recommendations of other scuba divers on how they deal with seasickness while they are on a dive trip.
Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, these tips can help you have a safe and enjoyable diving experience.
Why does seasickness happen?
Seasickness, also known as motion sickness, is a condition that can occur when you are in a moving vehicle or on a boat and your body experiences movement or changes in direction that your brain cannot interpret or reconcile with what your eyes see.
This discrepancy between what your body feels and what your eyes see can cause confusion and discomfort, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.
Being in a small or crowded space, and experiencing rough seas or choppy water, can cause motion sickness. Some scuba divers are more susceptible to seasickness than others, and it can be difficult to predict who will be affected.
It is important to note that seasickness can be a serious condition and can interfere with your ability to safely participate in scuba diving activities. If you are prone to seasickness or have a history of motion sickness, it may be helpful to discuss your concerns with your doctor before your trip.
What are the symptoms of seasickness?
If you’re on a scuba diving boat trip or going on a dive liveaboard for the first time, you may experience these symptoms associated with seasickness:
- Dizziness- can feel like a spinning or vertigo sensation, and can be accompanied by lightheadedness or a feeling of disorientation
- Nausea- a feeling of unease or discomfort in the stomach, and can lead to the urge to vomit.
- Vomiting- a physical response to the feeling of nausea, and can lead to dehydration
- Sweating- a sign of the body’s attempt to regulate its temperature, and can be accompanied by clammy skin
- Headache- this can be accompanied by dizziness or lightheadedness
- Fatigue- a feeling of tiredness or lack of energy, and can be accompanied by difficulty concentrating or focusing
- Loss of appetite- a loss of interest in food or drink, accompanied by a feeling of nausea
If you are experiencing scuba diving motion sickness, it is crucial to stop diving immediately and seek medical attention if necessary. You must stay hydrated and avoid strenuous activity until you are feeling better.
Since some of these symptoms can also be associated with other scuba diving-related medical conditions like bends or decompression sickness, I also recommend calling your dive insurance or health care provider for a consult. I use DAN as my dive insurance and you can call them 24/7 for any dive medical emergency.
Best Remedies for Seasickness When Scuba Diving
Preventing seasickness while scuba diving can be challenging, but there are some things that you can do to help manage any symptoms.
Here are some of the best tips on how to alleviate seasickness when you’re scuba diving:
1. Take motion sickness medicine
There is no single “best” medication for seasickness, as the best medication for an individual will depend on their specific needs and medical history. Some people may find relief with over-the-counter seasickness medications, while others may need prescription medication.
It is important to speak with a healthcare professional to determine the best medication for your specific needs. Follow the instructions provided by a healthcare professional when taking any medication and be aware of any potential side effects or interactions with other medications.
I personally prefer this method to avoid seasickness. It’s simple, affordable, and has been proven to be effective in addressing my motion sickness while at sea. My go-to is an antiemetic medicine called Bonamine. It is what I use because it is what is locally available.
If you are traveling abroad or going on a liveaboard, you should pack your own supply of motion sickness medicine as you might have a hard time finding your preferred brand and type of medication.
2. Get some rest
Sleeping can help alleviate the symptoms of seasickness in some cases. When you are sleeping, your body is at rest and is not being subjected to the same type of motion that can cause seasickness.
Additionally, getting enough rest before your trip can help you feel more alert and better able to cope with any motion you may experience.
If you are experiencing seasickness and feel tired, it may be helpful to try to take a nap. Make sure you are in a comfortable, stable position, and try to relax as much as possible.
I find this to be effective as well and let the motion of the ocean lull me to sleep!
3. Look at the horizon
Instead of looking at your mobile screen or reading a book, look at the horizon instead. This is one of the best tips on how not to get seasick on a boat.
Your body is subjected to a variety of movements while on a dive boat or a liveaboard vessel. The boat will rock back and forth, up and down, side to side. These movements can cause confusion in your brain, resulting in dizziness, nausea, and vomiting.
You can help your brain process the motion you’re experiencing by focusing on the horizon or a fixed point in the distance.
4. Find a comfortable place to stay on the boat
Some divers find it helpful to sit in a central location on the boat, as this can reduce the feeling of rocking and rolling. Others may prefer to sit on the top deck of the boat, as the fresh air and the ability to see the surrounding landscape can help to reduce nausea.
If you are prone to seasickness and going on a liveaboard, it may be helpful to choose a cabin or room that is located in the lower part of the boat. You can also choose a cabin with a window or porthole that provides a view of the horizon. These can help reduce the feeling of motion and make you feel more comfortable during your trip.
5. Stay hydrated
It is important to stay hydrated when you have seasickness because it can help alleviate some of the symptoms you may be experiencing. Nausea and vomiting can cause you to lose fluids, and dehydration can worsen these symptoms.
Drinking water and sports drinks can help replace the fluids you have lost and allow your body to function better overall. You might also want to pack some electrolyte drink mix which helps in the absorption of water into your bloodstream.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol which can contribute to dehydration.
6. Get plenty of fresh air
Breathing in the fresh air can help alleviate the symptoms of seasickness.
When you feel nauseous or dizzy, the smell of stale air or strong odors, such as fuel or exhaust fumes, can worsen your symptoms.
Stay away from the boat’s engine. Hot air and gas fumes can make breathing more difficult for you.
Go outside or open the windows to get some fresh air. This can help clear your head and provide a more comfortable environment.
7. Watch what you eat
If you are prone to seasickness, you should also pay attention to what you eat and drink.
Consume food that is easy to digest and may help settle your stomach. You can try eating light, bland foods, such as crackers, toast, rice, or bananas.
There is some food that you should avoid as it can make your symptoms worse. Stay away from spicy, greasy, and acidic foods as these may irritate your stomach and might make you want to throw up more.
8. Do some meditation
Meditation can help reduce stress and anxiety, which are common contributors to seasickness. It can also help you focus on something other than your physical symptoms and develop a sense of control over your body and experience.
By practicing meditation, you can learn to calm your mind and body, redirect your attention, and regulate your body’s response to stress and discomfort. This can help reduce physical symptoms and improve your ability to cope with seasickness.
9. Use essential oils
Essential oils are plant-derived compounds that are extracted from various parts of a plant, such as leaves, flowers, or roots. Some people believe that certain essential oils can help alleviate symptoms of seasickness.
If you want a more homeopathic approach to seasickness, some divers swear by using essential oils like ginger oil, peppermint oil, lemon oil, and lavender oil. You can also get therapeutic oils in travel-friendly roller bottles for ease of use.
While traveling, I like to bring with me a small bottle of white flower oil, which is a traditional Chinese medicine made from magnolia flower oil, angelica root oil, and peppermint oil. It helps calm my nerves and makes me less nauseous.
10. Wear acupressure wristbands
Acupressure wristbands are bands that apply pressure to a specific point on your wrist that is believed to help relieve nausea. Nowadays, you can even get anti-nausea band that releases a specific pattern of pulses that stimulate the median nerve under the skin.
There is some evidence to suggest that acupressure wristbands may be effective, however, the effectiveness of these bands may vary from person to person and may not work for everyone.
Sea sickness is a common concern for many scuba divers, but it doesn’t have to ruin your diving experience. Listen to your body and take appropriate action to address your symptoms.
Not all sea sickness remedies will work for you but with a bit of preparation and the right precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable diving trip.
Have you ever experienced seasickness when scuba diving? How did you deal with the motion sickness before, during, or after your dives? Leave a comment below!