How to Avoid Seasickness

Few things can put a damper on a great boat dive trip like seasickness. While seasickness cannot always be completely eliminated, its effects can be dramatically reduced.

The causes of seasickness are simple. Primary cause is the confusion caused in the brain when its sense of balance tells it one thing and the eyes show another. This leads to dizziness, nausea, sweating and vomiting. Secondary causes include a sloshing in the stomach and fumes.

Prevention and even treatment during a bout is easy.

PRIOR TO BOARDING

Get plenty of sleep and avoid a heavy, greasy meal, both the night before and in the morning. Do, however, eat a light breakfast. A bagel is ideal. A completely empty stomach is almost as bad as one full of junk. Stay hydrated but don’t guzzle water. A stomach full of liquids will just slosh more. Just keep sipping on water.

Pills and medicine? Maybe. Over-the-counter seasickness remedies are notorious for their side-effects, mainly drowsiness. If you can deal with it, then perhaps this is a good alternative for you.

Another choice would be homeopathic remedies. The most effective, and quite popular is ginger. Fresh ginger root is best but capsules of powder also work. Natural ginger ale is good but most grocery store varieties are a poor choice. Papaya is also getting a lot of attention lately, both in natural and powdered capsule form. Both calm the stomach and aid digestion.

Then there is the prescription “patch.” Again, like the over-the-counter medicines, the side effects—severe dry mouth, blurred vision—are a heavy price to pay.

Another more “natural” way to control seasickness is accupressure on the wrist. Some devices even deliver a small electrical shock. Do they work? Some swear by them, although there is no scientific evidence to prove they work.

ON BOARDING

It is important to find a place where you can get comfortable, horizontal if possible. The best place on a boat is the part of the boat that moves the least. This would be close to center, low and toward the stern taking into consideration the location that will give you the freshest air.

Get situated before leaving the dock. Rig-up your BC and regulator on your tank. Assemble your camera. Get as much done as possible when the boat is calm dockside rather than pitching on the dive site.

UNDERWAY

Do not read, watch TV, or play cards. If possible lie down and close your eyes. It is likely the rocking may put you to sleep—good. Music is a great distraction. If the bunks are stuffy, find a place to get comfortable on deck.

If you begin to feel bad, get into the fresh air. It works wonders. Fix your eyes on the horizon. Soda crackers work excellent as well. They neutralize excess stomach acid and absorb sloshing juices.

ON THE DIVE SITE

Believe it or not a sure cure for seasickness is to simply get into the water. Even if all you can do is safety get your wetsuit on and get in the water, do it. The refreshing splash will likely snap you right out of it. Don’t, however, rush into your dive. Listen to the dive briefing. Do your normal gear and buddy checks. Then enjoy your dive!

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