What to do about seasickness?

A trip on the water is planned and you're worried about feeling seasick once aboard?A few prevention tips can be useful for dealing with this phenomenon!

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A dive at sea is on the programme and you're already worried about getting seasick on the boat? Don't worry, there are solutions for dealing with it!

Whether you're a novice diver or an experienced diver accustomed to being on the boat, you can still suffer from "kinetosis" or motion sickness, specifically seasickness in this case. It can be a real stumbling block for many divers, and can literally ruin a dive. Rest assured, it doesn't happen to everyone and precautions can be taken in order to avoid seasickness.Subea gives you some advice for dealing with this phenomenon so as to fully enjoy your dive!

What causes seasickness?

Seasickness is a kind of motion sickness, experienced quite often by many people, but quite harmless. In general, it affects about 25% of the population, even though accurate estimates are difficult since seasickness can be a one-off thing: it's not because you get sick once when out on the water that it will happen again, and vice versa. This phenomenon results primarily from an equilibrium problem and, more specifically, a malfunction of the inner ear. Indeed, seasickness occurs after confusion between what we can see and what we can feel (sensory lag): our eyes see a fixed point while our ears are detecting movement. That's how seasickness happens, since at that moment, your brain is receiving totally contradictory information. This analysis difficulty will cause several symptoms, more or less severe depending on the people, such as nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, fatigue, etc.

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Preventing seasickness

To prevent seasickness, there's an easily remembered rule to keep in mind, the "CHFF rule" (= Cold, Hunger, Fear and Fatigue). These are the 4 factors that most contribute to the appearance of seasickness. That's why it's important to consider them in order to avoid being sick on the boat… This applies before any dive, considering that if there's one golden rule before diving, it's to be in shape! As you can understand, it's better to anticipate before heading out. To this end, keep yourself covered up as you sail out to the dive site, stay hydrated and don't go out to sea on an empty stomach. Be in shape and, finally, remember to keep calm, even if the weather conditions are less than ideal. Also, avoid standing next to the engine, since the fumes coming from it can encourage nausea. Also, another little hint : look at the horizon. This may help the feeling of seasickness to pass.

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What to do in case of seasickness on the surface and in the water?

Even though seasickness most often occurs when you're aboard the boat, it can also arise once you're in the water, on the surface. All it takes is a bit of a swell, and nausea can come on quickly. At this point, the best thing to do is to descend and wait for the feeling of nausea to pass. In general, the seasickness clears up and you'll then be able to enjoy your dive, even though that may have seemed unimaginable a few minutes before.~On the other hand, remember that it's quite possible to feel seasick while actually submerged… Especially if doing deco stops in a strong swell. If you start to feel seasick underwater, it's important to find a fixed visual reference points in order to help clear the feeling of nausea. If ever your nausea doesn't clear up, there's only one solution: vomiting in your regulator. While this isn't the nicest solution in the world, it's what has to be done! This won't affect the operation of your regulator.

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Are there treatments for seasickness?

Care must be taken with regard to medicinal products intended to combat seasickness. Indeed, the classical treatment consists of medicinal products (example : Mercalm, Nausicalm, etc…) that are often based on dimenhydrinate which can cause side effects that can be dangerous for divers… These side effects can include a dry mouth and, even more importantly, reduced vigilance. Such medicinal products should therefore not be recommended for divers since these side effects could even, in certain cases, lead to nitrogen narcosis. For diving purposes, you might want to try a homoeopathic product such as Cocculine, which has no side effects. It's best to directly ask your physician regarding what type of medicinal product is the most suitable for you.~~~So now you're all set for your next boating excursions. Enjoy your diving!

What to do about seasickness ?

Baptiste, subea digital manager

I'm the Digital Manager for the Subea brand. I'm keen on spearfishing and freediving and have been scuba diving for over fifteen years. I have my level 1 FFESSM and PADI certifications up to “Rescue” level.

Check out our other diving tips!