Stay Safe this Summer: Alcohol and Water Sports Don’t Mix

Summer is here, the temperatures are warm and muggy- most of the time- and people are heading to pools, beaches and lakes for summer fun. Many people reach for a cold beverage during the hot summer weather, and it is good for your health to drink plenty of fluids. Remember, though, that whether you are boating, swimming, water skiing or diving, fun in the water and alcohol don’t mix. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance, vision and coordination-not a good combination with any water sports.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, 10 people per day die from unintentional drowning. Alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of adolescent and adult deaths associated with water recreation; almost a quarter of Emergency Room visits for drowning; and 1 in 5 reported boating deaths.

It's not just boat operators at risk from drinking while boating. Passengers are at greater risk of injury as well. In fact, 46% of all boating fatalities occurred when vessels were docked, anchored, or drifting. Due to sun exposure and heat, both operators and passengers are likely to become impaired more quickly, drink for drink, when on the water. So play it safe and avoid alcohol when you're on a boat.

All of these deaths are preventable. Getting into trouble in the water is life threatening not only for the person drowning but for the rescuer as well. In addition, the CDC recommends that adults not drink when they are responsible for supervising children in and around the water as tragedies involving drowning can happen in a matter of minutes.

Drinking alcohol can cause problems with swimming and diving, too. After drinking, individuals cannot accurately judge what is safe and can get themselves into hazardous, even life threatening situations miscalculating distances or direction. A long swim can result in hypothermia as alcohol reduces the body’s ability to stay warm in the water.

Being out in the sun all day can cause dehydration. Alcohol, even though it is a beverage, is not the answer to that problem. In fact, both alcohol and caffeine dehydrate the body. It is better to pack plenty of water, juices, and non-caffeinated soda for a long day at the beach or out in the sun.

Remember to keep yourself, your friends and your family safe this summer. Don’t mix alcohol and water sports.

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