The Totally Enclosed Motor Propelled Survival Craft (TEMPSC) is potentially a very provocative factor in the development of motion sickness. Its inherent design characteristics can provide a very nauseogenic environment when launched in even moderate seas. The human factors associated with an abandonment of an offshore installation may significantly potentiate the existing likelihood of motion sickness. The role of the psychogenic stimuli in the aetiology of motion sickness may become more prominent in a real-life scenario when compared to a training drill.

Motion sickness questionnaires were completed by trainees (n = 899) undergoing offshore survival training and survivors (n = 39) of the 'Ocean Odyssey' drilling rig evacuation. The questionnaires provided data including incidence of vomiting, feelings of illness, reasons for illness, age, travel history, and sea conditions. In order to obtain a realistic comparison group for the survivors data, a sub-group of trainees (n = 72) was selected which had been in the same type of survival craft (Watercraft Mk H) and the same sea state (Beaufort State 4) as that of the 'Ocean Odyssey' abandonment. Significantly higher levels of vomiting and feelings of illness were recorded for the survivors than the trainees. Reasons for illness differed between the groups with the survivors implicating psychogenic factors as the main cause. Both groups revealed that vomiting took place within 1 hour. Data from the overall group of trainees showed an illness rating of 1.32 which is high in comparison to other forms of sea transportation.

The combination of the psychogenic factors and the immediacy of the onset of motion sickness symptoms and the endpoint of vomiting may have implications for preventive measures such as training and drug administration.

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