11 Best Ways to Prevent and Avoid Seasickness On A Dive Boat

I’m an addict to seasickness!! Are you?

Feeling Seasick On BoatEver get that nauseated feeling when you feel like your stomach was turned inside out and your head doesn’t feel right?  You feel down-right miserable and just wanna hang over the side of the boat and vomit?

What a great way to spend your first day on your first open water scuba dive..just kidding!! All jokes aside, this is absolutely the worst feeling to have in your head and stomach! You’re not smiling nor are you having fun… in fact, it could just be enough to turn you off from scuba diving!

Hey, I’m talking about SURVIVAL here!!

Seasickness = Misery!!  Seasickness is preventable!

There are many methods you can try to take to help you prevent and avoid seasickness on a dive boat. I have 11 here for you based on my observations with divers and my experiences of this horrible affliction.

Why do divers get seasick?


First, let’s just get an understanding of why this makes us feel so miserable…

Your feet are used to being on ground. When you’re on a boat that rocks back and forth, your stomach starts to feel queasy and it gets worse because that’s all you can think of. Your brain is getting totally messed up and getting mixed signals from your eyes and inner ear. Once you get feeling this way, you can’t stop it until you get off the boat and it could take days to recover depending on how long you were on the boat.

Sea or motion sickness is how you feel when your inner ear senses motion that’s different from the motion you see. The feeling gets worse from uncomfortable to dizziness and sweating which then turns to nausea and even vomiting.

The great news is about 75% of the people get acclimated over time to the sea rocking back and forth and they can actually get rid of the affliction. For the remaining 25%, don’t give up doing what you love doing.

You see, I love my scuba diving and have absolutely no intentions of giving it up.

Prevent and Avoid Seasickness!!


1) Take the pill.

Dramamine, Bonine and antihistamines like Benadryl helps. There is also the regular Gravol. All of these cause drowsiness. I have tried Bonine, Dramamine, and the regular Gravol and I was able to enjoy my boat ride and my dives.

The only challenge I had was after the my dives, all I wanted to do was sleep and of course wasted the rest of the day. Not good if you’re on vacation! I tried half instead of consuming the whole pill and that worked just fine and I was not dozy at all after my dives.

Try the Ginger Gravol… it’s the best and it’s chewable.. quite yummy and best of all non-drowsy!

Chewable Non-Drowsy Ginger Gravol

NOTE: If you decide to take the pill, even the Ginger Gravol… check with your family physician first, make sure to read the instruction before swallowing in case you have allergies, pregnant, etc. It’ll also tell you how soon you need to take it.

I started chewing one Ginger Gravol 30 minutes before boarding the dive boat and chew 2 when I go whale watching (longer trip and rougher waters). 

If you forget to swallow the pill or chew the Ginger Gravol and decide to take it just when you board the boat, it may be too late because the it hasn’t taken effect and once you feel queasy… well, you’re pretty much toast as in feeling miserable!

2) Look out onto the horizon.

When you’re on the boat that’s rocking and rolling, don’t look at the waves, boat instruments, or other people on the boat… remember, your body parts and your inner ear, even your eyes are already sensing something’s not right.

Look out into the horizon because the horizon is stationary. By doing this, your brain will feel like you’re on ground. I’ve tried this, and it helps!

3) Center of the boat.

The best thing to do is to sit in the center of the boat so you won’t feel the boat rolling as much.

I’ve tried this as well…and again this method helps.

However, if you decide to go whale watching and get up to the side of the boat to see the whale breech … the symptoms come back and you don’t have time to even take a good picture of the whale because you’re only thinking of your stomach.

4) The Patch.

This is a Transdermal Patch called Scopolamine. It’s a patch that releases a steady dose of medicine. I’ve seen divers come on board the dive boat with this on and get great results which means great dives!  

You place it on your skin behind your ear at least 4 hours before the motion occurs. It dulls the nerve fibers in your inner ear. I have never tried this but my researchs and observations tell me it’s extremely successful in giving the desired result of eliminating the sea or motion sickness.

Caution: Consult with your family physician first, especially if you are pregnant or thinking of it. Read and follow the instructions very carefully. There are references to certain allergies, Glaucoma, etc. Of course, the side effect is drowsiness, not driving… blurred vision, dry mouth.

5) Your Nose.

If you smell fuel, perfume, food, or someone smoking a cigarette on the boat… immediately get some fresh air.

I was on a dive boat recently when I started to smell fuel and then someone lit up a cigarette… well that pretty much did me in…

6). Stay away from other sea-sick people.

If you see someone hanging over the boat and vomiting, best to walk away from them… if you don’t, before you know it, you will be doing joining them. Its definitely not contagious . For some reason, It’s like a chain reaction…

7) Don’t over eat!

Sometimes when people are on cruise ships, they over eat. All that greasy food gets moved about in your stomach like water when the ship rocks back and forth. Avoid high fat foods. Too much sugar can also make you feel light- headed and dizzy. Eat something light. Bagels, pancakes and bread definitely help. Go easy on the eggs too….

Don’t go on the dive boat on a full stomach!

8) Go in the water.

If you’re on the cruise ship, you can go in the pool. If you plan on diving and you already feel nauseated, you can suit up into your dive gear and swim underwater to reduce the motion. I have seen this work well for most divers. It pretty much depends on what ‘level’ your queasiness is…

I tried this technique and even your dive tour guide will suggest it… I was able to complete and enjoy both my dives.

9) Lie flat on your back.

Lying on your back may prevent your stomach from being jostled about from the boat rocking. Keep your eyes closed too!

This definitely helps!

10) Talk yourself out of it.

Even the most experienced seaman can get sea sick. Before he even boards his ship he will talk himself out of it by saying ‘I don’t get seasick’ repeatedly and with conviction.

Now, I have not tried this method yet, but I do believe in mind over matter.

11) Important – No alcohol, no hangover.

Not only can you get seasick but you’re also risking your life when diving under the influence of alcohol. High content of alcohol to moderate can be hazardous to the diver.

What to do when you just can’t hold it back! You have that urge…


When you’re at this stage, don’t fight it! Let it out and I promise you will feel a whole lot better!

Do not use the toilet… you will end up in a very small confined washroom which will make you feel even worse plus you will have to clean up your vomit!

Do Not Vomit In Toilet On Boat

 

Go to the rail preferably on the leeward (downwind) side of the boat and don’t feel embarrassed… you’re not the only one!!

My Recommendation:


First of all, you have already paid for your boat trip and your diving or whale watching excursion… you need to come up with a sure thing that’s going to work. If you already know you’re prone to motion you need to come up with a plan. Be prepared ahead of time and follow the method that really works…

For me, I take my Ginger Gravol with me on holidays. Like I mentioned, it’s non-drowsy.

I hope this article helps you! If you have any questions or comments please put them in the comment box below. If you have had any experiences of sea sickness and methods you tried that worked well or didn’t work, I would like to hear from you.

 

4 comments

  1. I have always wanted to try scuba diving and the boat ride may be what’s holding me back! I absolutely love all of your suggestions to prevent sea sickness. “If you see someone hanging over the boat and vomiting, best to walk away from them… if you don’t, before you know it, you will be doing joining them.” This comment made me think of the scene in Stand By Me! I am pretty sure it would be all over for me if that happened!
    Great post, thanks so much!

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your comment! It’s ok to get sea sick, although totally not desirable, it happens to the best of us… even to experienced boats people! Don’t let it stop you from getting into scuba diving. There are so many ways to overcome it. It’s just a matter of being prepared ahead of time. Sea sickness can be prevented..

      I hope you will experience the underwater world.. it truly is the most awesome experience EVER!!

      Regards
      Monica

  2. Thank you for going into this issue!

    I don’t have this problem, but I have friends that definitely do! I will tell them about the ‘Horizon’ trick as this is easier than taking a pill that he can’t swallow anyway!

    Mickeyb

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