Scuba Diver

Easy Ways to Beat Seasickness

An upset stomach can make an otherwise enjoyable journey into something horrible. Nausea followed by vomiting in such case is a condition medically known as motion sickness. It is not a dangerous condition, but can cause great discomfort particularly for those who travel often. Motion sickness is most common with children (between 2 and 5 years old), women, and senior citizens, however it can actually happen to anyone depending on the circumstances of the trip. Motion sickness is also referred to as seasickness (on a boat), airsickness (on a plane), or carsickness (in a car).

Why do divers get sea-sick?

The main reason why motion sickness occurs is the human sensory system’s inability to detect movement of the body. Human balance-sensing system is comprised of three organs including inner ear, eyes, and sensory nerves. When one of them fails to sense that the body is moving, normal relationship between the balance and the brain is disrupted. For example, your eyes can clearly see that the boat you’re on is moving by the scenery, but your sensory nerves cannot sense any movement because the boat is very steady as if you stayed in the same place. Your eyes see the movement, but other parts of the body fail to recognize it.
Fortunately there is quite a number of methods, how scuba divers or travelers in general can prevent an upset stomach or motion sickness altogether:

Eat before you travel

When your stomach is empty, it is prone to problems. Eat carbohydrates so that you feel full for longer. Alcohol and greasy foods are not recommended, especially when you go scuba diving.

Avoid strong odors

Perfume, diesel fumes, cigarettes, or anything unpleasant makes the nausea worse. They can even induce nausea when you are perfectly fine. 

Stay still

Minimizing movement allows the acceleration of the vehicle (boat, car, or place) to go through your body. It helps the sensory system to recognize movement. As a result, normal connection between brain and balance nerves is restored. 

Get some air

The wind from fresh air helps to relieve motion sickness. Remember that unpleasant odors can make you nauseated. Good supply of fresh air eliminates the issue.

Focus on a distant object

When your eyes are focusing on a distant object on the horizon, you move your head (albeit slightly) as you move along. The body recognizes that you are leaving the object behind, which means the brain understands there is indeed a movement. Avoid reading or playing games on your phone for prolonged period. 


If you know you get motion-sick regularly and none of the above tips work for you, there are plenty of motion-sickness tablets available to buy at the pharmacy. Do read the instructions carefully before taking them, or consult your doctor.
If in any case you cannot hold the urge to vomit, move to a private place when you can take everything out. When you are on a diving boat, move to the leeward rail and direct the vomit to the sea. You can also try to dive in if possible. Submerging your body underwater will refresh your mind and stop it from having improper acceleration readings. We at OK Divers resort have probably seen it all during our many dives in Padangbai, and yes, it is also possible to puke into your diving regulator while actually scuba diving. It is not a pleasant experience however you will definitely feel better afterwards. 

More on health issues while traveling or diving in Bali read in our other articles help with decompression illnes in Bali  and  dengue fever in Bali.

About the Author