Updated: Nov 2, 2020
This past weekend I went on a dive trip to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. I had been on boats before in the Gulf of Mexico and down by the Florida Keys, been a tiny bit nauseous but nothing bad enough to worry about. So, I just treated the dive like any other. Before the dive everyone kept asking me if I had taken Dramamine and eaten a lot of food, but I kept brushing them off.
Well... I learned my lesson the hard way... Click here for the full story.
Step 1: Listen to your Dive Master
This seems like common sense, but sometimes we like to think we know ourselves better... I know my body better, but dive masters are masters for a reason and have done these dives more often than I have.
Step 2: Take All the Dramamine
Seasickness pills help significantly. I don't know much about them, but took what a fellow diver recommended (I am not a doctor, I would recommend figuring out the right dosage for you. DO NOT OVERDOSE. There are also different brands, not just Dramamine; this is just the most popular). Take enough to be sure you don't feel the sickness. For day 2 of diving I took 1 the afternoon before, 1 before I went to bed, 2 when I woke up, and 1 when I got on the boat.
Step 3: EAT EAT EAT
You would think that not eating would leave nothing in your stomach to throw up, and therefore not make you queasy. But, it is just the opposite. The more food you eat, the more it cushions your stomach. I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich before getting on the boat, a small snack between dives (dark chocolate and green apples help with seasickness... don't ask me why), and another peanut butter and jelly sandwich after the dives. My dive master also gave me some peaches in addition with a look of "I told you so".
Step 4: Electrolytes and Hydration
Drink a lot of water. Being on a boat, carrying all your gear, and diving takes up a lot of energy. So, before, during, and after, you need to replenish your vitamins. I drank an electrolyte drink before bed the night before, and I took one on the boat with me and some water.
Step 5: Stand in the Middle of the Boat
When the boat is rocking, the front, back, or sides of the boat are moving up and down. The axis, in the middle of the boat, is moving the least. So, standing there will stabilize you. Based on my experience, standing is much better than sitting. Also, talk to people and keep yourself distracted from the motion of the ocean. I have also heard that the smell of the engine exhaust can make feeling nausea worse, so try to stay away from the stern of the boat.
Step 6: Mindset
There were a couple of times I could have gotten sick, but I did not let it get to me mentally. My mom jokingly told me to hula dance on the boat so that I move with the waves, and just for fun, I tried it. It actually works! I kept my knees bent so that when there were big waves, my body could flow with the ocean instead of fight against it. Keep telling yourself that it is going to be a great day!
When I was seasick, I started questioning my entire career choice. But, I knew I couldn't just give up. Preparation is extremely important, especially in diving. A dive plan is not only about what happens underwater. Click here to read "How to Plan a Dive".
Please share other seasickness tips you might have in the comments!