Updated: Aug 9, 2022
For a person that used to get horrible sea sickness I really picked a good profession. Ever since I was a kid I always suffered with motion sickness, in particular, sea sickness. I love my mom but I am pretty sure she is the one that passed down this trait. She is the type of person that gets sick in the harbor before the boat even unties from the dock (she is getting better though). I am thankfully not as bad as that, but I definitely feel the nausea from time to time.
I cannot spin horizontally! Even the marry-go-round at the mall as a kid makes me want to spew. My best friend convinced me to go on the tea cup ride at Disney once and I promptly made a visit to the nearest trash can afterwards. Growing up I definitely knew I had an issue with sea sickness but I grew up mostly boating on very flat lakes and I wasn’t exposed to boating on the open ocean very often.
I am lucky that for the most part I only get sick when the boat is stationary. When the boat is moving from point A to B I am doing great and loving life so my strategy for any time I was on any sort of dive boat out in the ocean was to be the first one in the water and the last one out by any means necessary. I swear there were times I was practically pushing people out of the way to get in the water. I have friends that get sick in the water more than on the boat and I am lucky that the majority of my symptoms are brought on from being on the boat topside vs in the water. There are of course exceptions to this on really really rough days.
WORKING WITH SEASICKNESS
The first time I ever went out on the water with the sharks I was an intern. I knew I would probably get sea sick so I prepared by taking two dramamine the morning before. I thought the more medication the better I would feel. WRONG! I was so drugged that I swear it almost made my motion sickness and nausea worse. I was a determined intern wanting to make a good impression so you can guarantee there was no puking occurring on that trip no matter what. The entire time I interned, despite constantly feeling sea sick, I never once got sick in front of the crew. When I eventually came back to train for a permanent position a lot of my now team members didn’t even know I had a problem with sea sickness. I was not able to hide that fact for much longer.
The training process for shark safety divers is long and requires you to be on the water almost every day, all day long. This meant it was impossible to hide my seasickness. I could manage it for a two hour trip but eight to ten hours on the water was something different. It definitely didn’t help that I started training in the roughest months of the year. I can confidently say that I got sick at least once, every day, for approximately two to three months.
I remember the first day I didn’t get sick I felt so accomplished.
As time went on my body naturally became more familiar with the feeling of being on the water and a good amount of my sea sickness started to naturally fade away. I always took dramamine before work. I realized that two pills was insane and even a full one pill made me so drowsy that my nausea would be enhanced. For me, half a pill an hour before I’m on the water does the trick. The continued time on the water and figuring out the right dose of medication ultimately are what I think led to me not getting sick on the water any more. I definitely still have days where I might feel a little dizzy, especially if I haven’t been out on the water in a long time but overall my sea sickness is pretty much gone.
If you also struggle with sea sickness you can try some of the things that helped me. I have friends that struggle with sea sickness in different ways than me that found other methods or medications (specifically gravel) work much better for them. Moral of the story is don’t lose hope if you struggle with sea sickness or really anything that might make your dream job more difficult. With time and some problem solving you might be able to make it work.