It’s Not Easy Being Green
If you are unfortunate to be one of those people who suffer from sea sickness you should not let it put you off scuba diving. There is nothing worse than the feeling of being queasy at sea as the boat starts to rock and roll, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get into the water.
Plenty of scuba divers throughout the world suffer from seasickness, but the enjoyment experienced underwater more than makes up for any unpleasantness you feel when travelling to and from the dive site on the dive boat.
Seasickness is caused because your body sends conflicting reports to your brain. Your feet are telling your head that you are stood on stable ground while your eyes and the balance sensors in your ears say differently. This causes your brain to become confused, upsetting your body and ultimately you become nauseous.
How Do I Prevent It?
Here are a few little tricks to help you from feeling like you want to jump overboard.
• Prevent – If you think that you may become sick then it is a good idea to take a preventative medication beforehand. These tablets are known to be very effective and are a good idea to take when on boat journeys. Having a good meal before is also a good idea as an empty stomach is more likely to become irritated.
• Get In The Middle – Position yourself in the middle of the boat. This will help as the rocking motion of a boat is less drastic here. If the sun is out, try to stay in the shade and keep cool. Becoming hot and bothered can exasperate the situation.
• Look Out – Standing in the centre of the boat and staring out to the horizon (and land if possible) will help as it will appear stable to your eyes. As you look out, the corners of your eyes should catch the waves coming in and prepare you for the rolling. This helps your brain make more sense of what is going on.
Sitting or lying down is not going to help and often makes you feel worse.
• Keep Hydrated – Drinking plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated helps your body digest food and keep your stomach feeling full. It is not recommended to have a heavy night out before diving anyway. Outside the obvious side effects, this will also dehydrate you which is not good and of course having a hangover is never going to make someone feel good regardless of whether you are going onto a boat.
• Smells – Try to stay away from strong odours. These will only confuse your brain more; gasoline, diesel, smoke and obviously other peoples vomit are likely to increase the chances of becoming ill.
If you are feeling a little woozy while on the dive boat, the best thing you can do is jump in go for a scuba dive. As you descend your body will no longer be experiencing the rocking motion that was making you feel ill on the boat.
As you will also be concentrating on the dive, you are likely to forget you were feeling sick in the first place. The time you spend under the waves will make you feel better and after a fantastic scuba dive you will realise it was well worth the effort.
I’m Going To Blow!
If the inevitable is going to happen and you have to vomit, then there are a few things to consider before you let loose. Make your way to the side of the boat that is downwind to prevent you and other people from getting sprayed. If unsure ask the boat master where the best place is.
It is best not to head to the toilet as confined spaces will only make you feel worse. After you have been sick you will feel better, so try not to hold it in too long.
If you are susceptible to motion/sea sickness then plan where the best place for you to do your scuba diving license is. Scuba diving destinations like Koh Tao are perfect.
The island is small, the dive sites are all relatively close – the furthest dive site is Chumphon Pinnacle which is approximately 30 -35 minutes away – and the island has many sheltered bays.
This means we are never on the dive boat for very long.
The weather on Koh Tao is pretty good most of the year with few storms blowing in to create waves.
Most of the time the sea is calm, often like a milk pond creating the perfect environment for potential scuba divers to start their underwater adventures, ‘Get their PADI‘ and become a certified scuba diver.
Author: Neil Davidson (PADI MSDT #294100)