Sea sickness or motion sickness – how to stop it ruining your dive trip

Sea sickness or motion sickness - how to stop it ruining your dive trip

Seasickness, or motion sickness, has undoubtedly ruined innumerable diving trips, holidays and activities in general.

For those resistant consider yourself fortunate. For the rest of us, what can we do to stop it happening, safely, so we can keep diving?

DAN’s Dr John Parker (a Diving physician and Senior Dive Medical Consultant) shares his thoughts:

Seasickness is a great menace, especially for scuba divers. Diving demands a clear head and feeling nauseous in the water is distracting and unsettling. Vomiting causes dehydration, which increases fatigue and the risk of decompression illness. Vomiting in the water with a regulator in the mouth can result in blockage of the regulator, inhalation of water and anxiety, which can lead to panic.

To avoid seasickness I recommend taking promethazine, a sedating antihistamine, the night before diving. Its anti-nausea effects last longer than the sedative effect. On the morning of diving, I then recommend taking hyoscine an hour before going out on the boat. This is generally well-tolerated but can cause drowsiness, dry mouth and blurred vision. It is important for each diver to trial these medications well before going on a diving trip to ensure that one’s individual reaction is not excessive.

Any diver using these medications should avoid deeper diving as such medications can enhance the effects of nitrogen narcosis. It is important to be aware of this, and ascend to shallower depths if narcosis becomes apparent.

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