Scuba Diving Travel: Tips on Avoiding Sea Sickness
One of the most unpleasant things that can occur when scuba diving is to suffer from sea sickness. It can really put a damper on what otherwise might have been a great outing. Some of us are more prone to sea sickness then others. Fortunately there are things you can do to prevent or lessen the likely hood of encountering this problem.
1/ Get a good nights rest prior to diving. Being well rested when going out on a dive boat will go a long way in helping you prevent sea sickness. Since many cases of sea sickness are caused or initiated by vertigo, being well rested will help you and your eyes adjust to the changing conditions.
2/ Eat a good breakfast. An empty stomach is much more sensitive then a stomach that has food in it. Food helps absorb stomach acid and in turn helps lesson feelings of nausea. Avoid greasy or spicy foods prior to diving and instead focus on foods that are gentler to your stomach like pancakes rather then bacon and eggs.
3/ Be well hydrated. Not only is dehydration a major contributing factor to decompression sickness, it also has the same negative effects of diving on an empty stomach. It makes it more likely that your stomach will react poorly to the wave action when sailing.
4/ Don’t forget sea sick medication. Many of us are more prone to sea sickness then others. Given enough turbulence even the more experienced sailor can experience sea sickness. There are many good over the counter medications that go a long way in helping prevent sea sickness. They all work best when taken prior to the boat ride, not during.
5/ Stay in the fresh air. Many boat cabins are stuffy and many even contain minute amounts of diesel or gas fumes which can make you very nauseous. If you stay in a gentle breeze the fresh air will help dissipate any of the gas odors that might effect you.
6/ Stay amidships and focus on the horizon. We said earlier that vertigo was a major contributing factor to sea sickness. The closer to the sides of the boat the more you will rock and see the wave action. By staying in the middle and focusing on the horizon will lesson the effects of the boat rolling in the waves.
7/ Leeward not windward. If you do feel ill go to the down wind side of the boat. Yes, there is more fresh air on the windward side but if you do get sick and have to feed the fish, the wind will blow your fish food back into the boat and on yourself and other divers. If you are leeward you still get fresh air but are able to spare others of your problems.
8/ Diving is better then remaining on board. Often times a diver will feel sea sick and want to skip the dive. That means staying on board and being effected by what caused the problem initially. Once diving you are breathing on fresh clean air and do not feel the effects of the rolling boat while scuba diving. If at all possible fight the urge to lay down and go down on that dive instead. In the unlikely event that you do get sick while diving simply take one bite wing of the mouthpiece out of your mouth and press the purge button. The force of the purge will blow your vomit away harmlessly and the air pocket will keep you from inhaling any water. This is a skill often taught in the Rescue Diver Course.
Scuba diving is fun and diving from a dive boat will take you to dive locations you cannot reach from shore. A few precautions like getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast, being well hydrated and taking your sea sick medication can help you avoid any unpleasantness and get more enjoyment during those next great Aquatic Adventures.