This study investigated the effects of ship motion on peak spinal loading during lifting. All measurements were done on a ship at sea. In 1-min trials, which were repeated over a wide range of sailing conditions, subjects lifted an 18 kg box five times. Ship motion, whole body kinematics, ground reaction forces and electromyography were measured and the effect of ship motion on peak spinal moments and compression forces was investigated. To investigate whether people time their lifts in order to reduce the effect of ship motion on back loading, trials were performed at a free and at a constrained (lifting every 10s) work pace. With increase of the (local) vertical ship acceleration, increased moments and compression forces were found. Furthermore, lifting at a free work pace did not result in smaller effects of ship motion on spinal moments and compression forces than working at a constrained work pace.