Throwing Up In Your Regulator While Scuba Diving

scuba diving motion sickness

Well, as dreaded and as bad as it sounds, it does happen.

Yes, as it turns out,  it is not too uncommon for divers to get a little motion sickness while and have an urgent need to throw up while scuba diving.

Fortunately, regulators are constructed such that you can just about do anything you can do on the surface. according to an article by Natalie Gibb on thoughtco.com, which includes cough, hiccup, hock a loogie.  So it is ok to just throw up through your regulator.  However, as bad as you may feel about it you are “feeding the fish” because apparently they enjoy the extra food.

Naturally, after such an event you will need to give your regulator a little more attention as far as cleaning though.

How to throw up while scuba diving in a full face mask

Getting sick while wearing a full face mask presents a more challenging problem. Jim Elliott of Diveheart Foundation demonstrates a technique he used when he got sick diving with a full face mask in the Florida Keys. 

Watch Jim’s demonstration video in the clip below.

“How to vomit while wearing a full face mask” – YouTube video by Diveheart Foundation

Read on for further details about how to handle this situation from the scubeadiverlife.com post.

When expelling vomit underwater, we want to keep our regulator in our mouth. This is our air source, and it is common to inhale immediately after exhaling vomit. Start by securing your regulator hose to keep your second stage in your mouth and be ready to reach for your alternate air source. I suggest positioning your body at a 45-degree angle and avoid constricting your diaphragm and stomach. If you are mid-water, your buddy should be prepared to help you with buoyancy. When you are near a clear bottom, it may be a good idea kneel on the floor until symptoms abate. If you are wearing a full-face mask, it’s best to switch to your alternate air source when you begin to feel nauseous to avoid having vomit in your mask. 

Read the entire story for more details here on scubadiverlife.com

Further explanation about throwing up while scuba diving

Natalie does a great job of explaining exactly what to do if you must vomit underwater in her thoughtco.com post.

1. Do Not Remove Your Regulator.
After vomiting, a person will reflexively gasp for air. If a diver removes his regulator to vomit, he may not be able to replace it in time and may inadvertently inhale water. Instead, a diver should hold his regulator in his mouth and vomit into the regulator mouthpiece. This will not contaminate his air supply – the vomit will exit through the one-way exhalation valve. The first breath after vomiting should be taken as carefully as possible, ensuring that any leftovers do not get inhaled.

2. Purge the Regulator If Needed.
After vomiting, a diver can use the regulator’s purge button to flood the regulator second stage with air and force any leftover debris out the exhaust valves. A diver purging the regulator after vomiting should take care to place his tongue over the regulator mouthpiece while pressing the purge button, so that any remaining vomit does not get blown back into his mouth.

3. Be Prepared to Switch to the Alternate Air Source.
Depending upon a diver’s last meal and chewing habits, vomit may be of different consistencies. If a diver is unlucky enough to have the chunky variety, pieces of puke could become lodged in the regulator mouthpiece and cause it to free-flow or malfunction. This is what alternate air source regulators are for! (They are also useful if breathing from a recently puked in regulator simply disgusts you). If a diver does switch to his alternate air source, he should end the dive because diving without an alternate air source regulator available for his buddy is unsafe.

Read her entire article here on thoughtco.com for more details.

Images Source: YouTube Clips

Related Posts:
How Scuba Diving Regulators Are made

[Updated 6/13/2022}

ScubaDiver:

View Comments (3)

  • Thanks for This story. Been there done that. No fun but the clean up is easy. Great reminder!

  • Point number 3 is important to remember. I went on a night dive after dinner once and got sick while hanging on the safety stop bar under the boat. My safety was complete but the ladder was crowded and since the surface was rough with a current, I decided to hang on the bar until the ladder was free. After I threw up through my regulator, I began to suck in a heavy spray of salt water when i tried to inhale. I thought about my alternate regulator but decided to go to the surface instead. Later that night I took my regulator apart and found a piece of chicken dinner that I had not chewed well enough. Lesson learned. I always chew my food well when I'm diving.

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