Seasickness in Scuba Diving

Seasickness is a common problem with scuba diving being carried out from boats. But there are simple ways to deal with this problem. Reduce the Risk of Seasickness Ruining a Scuba Dive Trip

Seasickness can affect everybody, even the most experienced boat skipper or scuba diver. To prevent this harrowing experience, there are a few natural remedies, before resorting to popping a pill.

What Causes It?

Seasickness is caused by the sensory organs in the inner ear getting out of adjustment due to movement of the boat. According to the website, these sensory systems, called the vestibular, contain nerve fibres that try to compensate for unfamiliar movement.

Be Physically Fit

All divers should have an early night before a boat dive. Don’t come out on a boat after only a few hours sleep or with a hangover and then wonder why the dreaded seasick bug has struck.

On the boat, keep away from the engine fumes. Stay close to fresh air, preferably in the centre of the boat, and as close to the waterline as possible. The fly-bridge of any boat will move much further than the deck.

Keep a Reference Point in Sight

Keep an eye on the horizon or the land. This gives a reference for the internal balance. The website states that the eyes, muscles and joints and the vestibular system must all work together to maintain balance. As the dive boat moves up and down with the swell, if the eyes are focussed on the horizon, or on nearby land, the body works out where it is in the three dimensional plane and caters for any movement.

Wrist Pressure

Another remedy is acupressure. This is an elastic strap around the wrist with a small bead that pushes onto a certain spot at the back of the wrist. To locate the spot, measure three finger widths from the main creases at the wrist and then position the bead between the two main tendons. These should be applied on both wrists an hour or so before getting on the boat, and can even be worn under the wetsuit or dive gloves while underwater.

Food to Combat Seasickness

One of the oldest remedies is to nibble dry biscuits while the boat is moving. Another folk-lore remedy is to nibble on ginger.

Pills for Seasickness

If none of these methods work, don’t give up. As a last resort, take a seasickness pill. There are many varieties available from the local pharmacist. As each diver is different, experimentation may be required.

Some pills can induce sleepiness. To avoid this, one pill should be taken the day before the boat trip to get used to the medication, and then another just before the trip. Other methods of taking seasickness medication is a small tab placed behind the ear that slowly releases the chemical into the skin.

Get in the Water Quickly

Another useful remedy against seasickness is to get into the water quickly once the dive boat has arrived at the dive site. Floating on the surface beside the boat can reduce that seasick feeling.

Individual Remedies

As each person is different, experimentation will be required to find the right solution for each diver. It might even be a combination. Some divers may use acupressure for minor symptoms, or take pills when it is known the seas are going to be exceptionally rough.

A common story about seasickness is that once it strikes, a person gets worried that they are going to die. Then as the seasickness gets worse they worry that they are not going to die! But a diver should not let this malaise ruin an enjoyable scuba diving career.