SUNDAY, July 10 (HealthDay News) -- Drinking and water sports
are highlights of summer fun for many Americans, but mixing the two
can be hazardous, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and
Alcohol is involved in half of all water recreation-related
deaths of teens and adults, according to the NIAAA, which outlined
a number of potentially dangerous scenarios:
Alcohol can impair swimmers' judgment and increase their
risk-taking. For example, swimmers may go out farther than they
should and be unable to make it back to shore, or they may not
notice how cold they're getting and develop hypothermia.
Around the pool, inebriated divers may collide with the diving
board or plunge into water that is too shallow.
Surfers who've been drinking may become over-confident and try
to ride a wave that's too difficult for them.
Among boaters, alcohol can impair judgment, balance, vision and
reaction time. Alcohol may be involved in up to 60 percent of
boating deaths, including falling overboard, the NIAAA said in a
news release. A boat operator with a blood alcohol concentration
greater than 0.1 percent is 16 times more likely to be killed in a
boating accident than someone with a zero blood alcohol level.
The American Red Cross offers
water safety tips.