Happy First Day of Summer! The heat and sunshine make it the perfect time to go outside, hang out with friends and go to the pool or lake. While that is all fun and dandy, there is one thing we need to talk about before you jump on that boat with your BFF and go tubing.
Don’t drink and dive.
Obviously, you’ve heard not to drink and drive, but it is also important not to drink if you plan on swimming. Why? Because drowning is a real issue that affects almost 375,000 people a year. That’s more than double the population of Monroe County!
Not all drowning deaths are caused by drinking, but alcohol definitely increases your risk. Some studies have shown that alcohol contributes to 30-35 percent of drowning deaths, and that 4 out of 10 teens who drown have been drinking alcohol.*
How alcohol affects you when you’re swimming:
- It impairs your judgment and makes it difficult to determine distances. You may think the other side of the pond isn’t far away, but chances are, it is. You could get halfway there, realize your mistake and then be unable to swim back to safety because you’re too tired or you’ve drifted further than you realized because of a current.
- It sloooows you down because it is a depressant. You could get tired much more quickly and go under before you or anyone else even realizes it.
- You could harm others. Chances are, if you’re drinking and swimming with friends, they’ve had some drinks too, meaning they are not in a good state to save you. In fact, they are likely to become a victim themselves.
- It makes you sloppy. Even if you’re not swimming and are just on a boat drinking an excessive amount of alcohol, you’re still at risk of falling into the water and drowning.
- You can get a BUI (Boating Under the Influence) for having a BAC over .08 and operating a boat.
While I encourage you to have fun this summer and go out to the lake with friends, just remember to be safe. If you’re over the age of 21 and want to drink while boating, try not to binge drink and make sure you have on a life vest at all times. Also, wait at least an hour after consuming alcohol to start swimming.
Stay safe and have a great summer!