A restless sea can bring seasickness for some divers. KEYS WEEKLY FILE PHOTO

The Florida Keys waters had a couple of bumpy days. Reports back from the captains stated numerous fish were being fed.  

What this means is that motion sickness grabbed hold of some divers, and they “fed the fish.” The Keys have many industries that deal with seasickness (a form of motion sickness): fishing, diving, snorkeling and eco charters to name a few. Dealing with customers’ seasickness is a part of our daily routine in the dive industry. Seasickness occurs when your brain can’t make sense of information sent from your eyes, ears and body. Lots of motion — in a car, airplane, boat or even an amusement park ride — can make you feel queasy, clammy or sick to your stomach, causing some people to vomit.  

Your brain receives signals from motion-sensing parts of your body, eyes, inner ears, muscles and joints. When these parts send conflicting information, your brain doesn’t know whether you’re stationary or moving. Your brain’s confused reaction makes you feel sick.  Some people are more susceptible to seasickness than others. And some people have more severe reactions than others. The sickness can be so severe that it keeps them from ever even considering getting on a rocking boat. Science, however, has blessed us with some remedies that can lower your chances of seasickness or ease symptoms if they occur.  

Here are a few actions you can take if seasickness is, unfortunately, a part of your life:

  • Herbs: Breathe in soothing mint, ginger or lavender scents. Suck on hard candies made with peppermint or ginger.
  • Diet and drink: Drink plenty of water. Choose low-fat, bland, starchy foods before traveling. Avoid heavy meals and greasy, spicy or acidic foods that can upset your stomach. Don’t drink alcohol or smoke.
  • Fresh air: Direct air vents to blow toward you. And roll down windows in cars.
  • Distant gaze: Put down the phone, tablet or book. Instead, look at an object in the distance or at the horizon.
  • Lie back: Recline, if possible, and close your eyes.
  • Pressure points: Wear acupressure wristbands.
  • Boat: Sit in the middle of the boat on the upper deck.

Over the counter remedies include:

  • Antihistamines: Commonly used to treat allergies, antihistamines can also prevent motion sickness and ease symptoms. Only antihistamines that cause drowsiness are effective. Non-drowsy formulas won’t help.  The more common ones are Dramamine and Bonine.
  • Patches: Scopolamine skin patches or oral pills prevent nausea and vomiting. You stick the patch behind your ear at least four hours before traveling. After three days, you remove the patch and apply a new one. This medication can cause dry mouth and is only approved for adults.

I know seasickness can be a debilitating occurrence but don’t give up. Try some of these techniques and meds to keep enjoying activities on or under the water.


I.CARE, or Islamorada Conservation and Restoration Education, celebrated its two-year anniversary this week. In those two years, I.CARE has educated more than 2,000 individuals on the Florida Reef Tract and have taken 1,814 recreational divers to outplant six different species of coral. Come join them this week as they educate more divers and plant more corals right here in Islamorada.

Eric Billips is is the owner, captain and instructor at Islamorada Dive Center and Floridia Keys Dive Center. He specializes in scuba, rebreather, spearfishing and captaining in the Florida Keys