Booze and boating a deadly mix
Risky drinking can put a chill on your summer fun
Summer is a time for outdoor activities with family and friends that could include drinking alcohol, but excessive drinking and summer activities don’t mix. Drinking impairs physical and mental abilities and decreases inhibitions, which can have tragic consequences on the water. Research shows that up to 70 percent of water recreation deaths of teens and adults involve the use of alcohol.
Swimmers can get in over their heads
Alcohol impairs judgment and increases risk-taking, a dangerous combination for swimmers. Even experienced swimmers may venture out farther than they should and not be able to make it back to shore, or they may not notice how chilled they’re getting and develop hypothermia.
Boaters can lose their bearings
According to the U.S. Coast Guard and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, alcohol can impair a boater’s judgment, balance, vision and reaction time. It can also increase fatigue and susceptibility to the effects of cold-water immersion. If problems arise, intoxicated boaters are ill-equipped to find solutions. For passengers, intoxication can lead to slips on deck, falls overboard or accidents at the dock.
Drivers can go off course
The summer holidays are some of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. When on vacation, drivers may be traveling an unfamiliar route or hauling a boat or camper, with the distraction of pets and children in the car. Adding alcohol to the mix puts the lives of the driver and everyone in the car and other people on the road at risk.
Stay hydrated and stay healthy
Whether you’re on the road or in the great outdoors, heat plus alcohol can equal trouble. Hot summer days cause fluid loss through perspiration, while alcohol causes fluid loss through increased urination. Together, they can quickly lead to dehydration or heat stroke.
Summer will end, but consequences can endure
You can have fun in the sun and still be safe. Start by avoiding beverages that cause mental and physical impairment while boating, driving a car, exploring the wilderness, and swimming or surfing. Be smart this summer—think before you drink, and make sure that you and your loved ones will be around to enjoy many summers to come.