Alcohol and Summer Safety

Reviewed Aug 26, 2016

Close

E-mail Article

Complete form to e-mail article…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

Separate multiple recipients with a comma

Close

Sign-Up For Newsletters

Complete this form to sign-up for newsletters…

Required fields are denoted by an asterisk (*) adjacent to the label.

 

Summary

Many summer activities require high levels of coordination and balance, so your favorite pastime may become especially dangerous after a drink or two.

Summer is here, and you’re probably looking forward to the family barbeque, a trip to the beach, or that get-together with friends over a holiday weekend. With the long days and warmer weather, summer is the perfect season to spend time with loved ones. If your party plans include the consumption of alcoholic beverages, however, you should carefully consider the safety risks of mixing summer fun with even one drink.

Whether you’re boating, swimming, water skiing, driving, hiking, rollerblading, or just lounging by the pool, alcohol poses a major threat to safety. Studies show that a single drink can impact your ability to observe and react, two critically important skills in the event of an emergency. In addition, many summer activities require high levels of coordination and balance, so your favorite pastime may become especially dangerous after a drink or two. Since you’re less able to help someone else who’s been injured and more likely to hurt yourself, alcohol poses a major threat to summer safety for people of all ages. Here are some activities that are safer and even more fun when participants are alcohol-free:  

Boating

Like driving a car, boating requires coordination, concentration, and attention to safety. A Coast Guard study estimates that boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.10 percent are about 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than boat operators with zero blood alcohol concentration. The U.S. Coast Guard also reports that alcohol is a major factor in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities nationwide.

Ironically, many people who would never consider driving under the influence of alcohol are willing to operate a boat after a few drinks. Safety and sobriety are important both on and off the water, so boaters should remember that alcohol impairs balance, vision, and judgment. Most states consider a boat operator legally impaired with a BAC of 0.08 percent, a level usually reached after three or more drinks within one hour. New research, however, indicates that a BAC as low as 0.03 to 0.05 can still result in the loss of skills essential to safe boating.

Swimming

Since alcohol directly affects the brain, drinking and swimming (or drinking while supervising children who are swimming) is a potentially deadly combination. Drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injury among Americans ages one to 14. Approximately 3,536 people in the U.S. died from unintentional drowning between 2005 and 2014. Children aren’t the only ones at risk—alcohol is involved in 70 percent of water-related adult deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol is also frequently involved in diving accidents, where misjudging distance can have disastrous consequences.

The great outdoors

If you enjoy hiking, walking, bicycling, or other outdoor physical activities, the combination of alcohol and summer sun can easily lead to dehydration. Alcoholic beverages increase urine output and therefore reduce essential fluid levels. Your body needs water to regulate its temperature, remove waste, and transport nutrients, but combining physical exertion and alcohol consumption will usually result in dehydration. Symptoms include thirst, weakness, anxiety, and even fainting; severe dehydration may induce collapse or even death. Under the influence of alcohol, however, you may remain dangerously unaware of these symptoms.

Before you head for the beach, the pool, the park, or the campground, give some thought to summer safety. When you decide to consume alcohol, the possibility of accident or injury increases dramatically. This summer, weigh the risks and choose responsibly.

By Lauren Greenwood
Source: Center for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov; United States Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, www.uscgboating.org/; American College of Emergency Physicians, www.acep.org; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, www.niaaa.nih.gov
Reviewed by Wendy Welch, MD, CHCQM, Federal VP/Medical Director, ValueOptions Federal Services Inc.

Summary

Many summer activities require high levels of coordination and balance, so your favorite pastime may become especially dangerous after a drink or two.

Summer is here, and you’re probably looking forward to the family barbeque, a trip to the beach, or that get-together with friends over a holiday weekend. With the long days and warmer weather, summer is the perfect season to spend time with loved ones. If your party plans include the consumption of alcoholic beverages, however, you should carefully consider the safety risks of mixing summer fun with even one drink.

Whether you’re boating, swimming, water skiing, driving, hiking, rollerblading, or just lounging by the pool, alcohol poses a major threat to safety. Studies show that a single drink can impact your ability to observe and react, two critically important skills in the event of an emergency. In addition, many summer activities require high levels of coordination and balance, so your favorite pastime may become especially dangerous after a drink or two. Since you’re less able to help someone else who’s been injured and more likely to hurt yourself, alcohol poses a major threat to summer safety for people of all ages. Here are some activities that are safer and even more fun when participants are alcohol-free:  

Boating

Like driving a car, boating requires coordination, concentration, and attention to safety. A Coast Guard study estimates that boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.10 percent are about 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than boat operators with zero blood alcohol concentration. The U.S. Coast Guard also reports that alcohol is a major factor in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities nationwide.

Ironically, many people who would never consider driving under the influence of alcohol are willing to operate a boat after a few drinks. Safety and sobriety are important both on and off the water, so boaters should remember that alcohol impairs balance, vision, and judgment. Most states consider a boat operator legally impaired with a BAC of 0.08 percent, a level usually reached after three or more drinks within one hour. New research, however, indicates that a BAC as low as 0.03 to 0.05 can still result in the loss of skills essential to safe boating.

Swimming

Since alcohol directly affects the brain, drinking and swimming (or drinking while supervising children who are swimming) is a potentially deadly combination. Drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injury among Americans ages one to 14. Approximately 3,536 people in the U.S. died from unintentional drowning between 2005 and 2014. Children aren’t the only ones at risk—alcohol is involved in 70 percent of water-related adult deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol is also frequently involved in diving accidents, where misjudging distance can have disastrous consequences.

The great outdoors

If you enjoy hiking, walking, bicycling, or other outdoor physical activities, the combination of alcohol and summer sun can easily lead to dehydration. Alcoholic beverages increase urine output and therefore reduce essential fluid levels. Your body needs water to regulate its temperature, remove waste, and transport nutrients, but combining physical exertion and alcohol consumption will usually result in dehydration. Symptoms include thirst, weakness, anxiety, and even fainting; severe dehydration may induce collapse or even death. Under the influence of alcohol, however, you may remain dangerously unaware of these symptoms.

Before you head for the beach, the pool, the park, or the campground, give some thought to summer safety. When you decide to consume alcohol, the possibility of accident or injury increases dramatically. This summer, weigh the risks and choose responsibly.

By Lauren Greenwood
Source: Center for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov; United States Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, www.uscgboating.org/; American College of Emergency Physicians, www.acep.org; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, www.niaaa.nih.gov
Reviewed by Wendy Welch, MD, CHCQM, Federal VP/Medical Director, ValueOptions Federal Services Inc.

Summary

Many summer activities require high levels of coordination and balance, so your favorite pastime may become especially dangerous after a drink or two.

Summer is here, and you’re probably looking forward to the family barbeque, a trip to the beach, or that get-together with friends over a holiday weekend. With the long days and warmer weather, summer is the perfect season to spend time with loved ones. If your party plans include the consumption of alcoholic beverages, however, you should carefully consider the safety risks of mixing summer fun with even one drink.

Whether you’re boating, swimming, water skiing, driving, hiking, rollerblading, or just lounging by the pool, alcohol poses a major threat to safety. Studies show that a single drink can impact your ability to observe and react, two critically important skills in the event of an emergency. In addition, many summer activities require high levels of coordination and balance, so your favorite pastime may become especially dangerous after a drink or two. Since you’re less able to help someone else who’s been injured and more likely to hurt yourself, alcohol poses a major threat to summer safety for people of all ages. Here are some activities that are safer and even more fun when participants are alcohol-free:  

Boating

Like driving a car, boating requires coordination, concentration, and attention to safety. A Coast Guard study estimates that boat operators with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) above 0.10 percent are about 10 times more likely to be killed in a boating accident than boat operators with zero blood alcohol concentration. The U.S. Coast Guard also reports that alcohol is a major factor in about a third of all recreational boating fatalities nationwide.

Ironically, many people who would never consider driving under the influence of alcohol are willing to operate a boat after a few drinks. Safety and sobriety are important both on and off the water, so boaters should remember that alcohol impairs balance, vision, and judgment. Most states consider a boat operator legally impaired with a BAC of 0.08 percent, a level usually reached after three or more drinks within one hour. New research, however, indicates that a BAC as low as 0.03 to 0.05 can still result in the loss of skills essential to safe boating.

Swimming

Since alcohol directly affects the brain, drinking and swimming (or drinking while supervising children who are swimming) is a potentially deadly combination. Drowning is the second leading cause of death from unintentional injury among Americans ages one to 14. Approximately 3,536 people in the U.S. died from unintentional drowning between 2005 and 2014. Children aren’t the only ones at risk—alcohol is involved in 70 percent of water-related adult deaths, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol is also frequently involved in diving accidents, where misjudging distance can have disastrous consequences.

The great outdoors

If you enjoy hiking, walking, bicycling, or other outdoor physical activities, the combination of alcohol and summer sun can easily lead to dehydration. Alcoholic beverages increase urine output and therefore reduce essential fluid levels. Your body needs water to regulate its temperature, remove waste, and transport nutrients, but combining physical exertion and alcohol consumption will usually result in dehydration. Symptoms include thirst, weakness, anxiety, and even fainting; severe dehydration may induce collapse or even death. Under the influence of alcohol, however, you may remain dangerously unaware of these symptoms.

Before you head for the beach, the pool, the park, or the campground, give some thought to summer safety. When you decide to consume alcohol, the possibility of accident or injury increases dramatically. This summer, weigh the risks and choose responsibly.

By Lauren Greenwood
Source: Center for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov; United States Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety, www.uscgboating.org/; American College of Emergency Physicians, www.acep.org; National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, www.niaaa.nih.gov
Reviewed by Wendy Welch, MD, CHCQM, Federal VP/Medical Director, ValueOptions Federal Services Inc.

The information provided on the Achieve Solutions site, including, but not limited to, articles, quizzes, and other general information, is for informational purposes only and should not be treated as medical, health care, psychiatric, psychological or behavioral health care advice. Nothing contained on the Achieve Solutions site is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with a qualified health care professional. Please direct questions regarding the operation of the Achieve Solutions site to Web Feedback. If you have concerns about your health, please contact your health care provider.  ©2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.

 

Close

  • Useful Tools

    Select a tool below

© 2017 Beacon Health Options, Inc.