Alcohol consumption is a factor in up to 70 percent of all adult drowning accidents. This means that the majority of drowning accidents involving adults involve the use of alcohol. The effects of alcohol on the body can impair a person's ability to swim, react to danger, and make good decisions.
Drowning Accidents and Impairment of Judgment
Alcohol impairs judgment, coordination, and reaction time, which can lead to risky behavior around water. This means that when people are under the influence of alcohol, they may take risks that they would not take if they were sober. This can include things like swimming in dangerous areas or diving into shallow water.
Alcohol Consumption Combined with Fatigue of Hypothermia Increases Drowning Risk
Drinking alcohol before or during swimming can increase the risk of drowning, especially when combined with other factors such as fatigue or hypothermia. Alcohol can affect a person's body temperature, making them more susceptible to hypothermia in cold water. It can also cause fatigue, which can lead to decreased ability to swim and increased risk of drowning.
Binge Drinking is Particularly Dangerous Around Water
Binge drinking, defined as consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time, is particularly dangerous around water. Binge drinking can cause a rapid onset of alcohol's effects, increasing the risk of drowning. It can also impair a person's ability to recognize and respond to danger.
Small Amounts of Alcohol can Enhance Risk of Drowning Accidents
Even a small amount of alcohol can impair a person's ability to swim and increase their risk of drowning. This means that even if a person has only had a little bit to drink, they may still be at risk when swimming or boating.
Alcohol Consumption Increases Risk of Boating Accidents
Alcohol can also increase the likelihood of boating accidents, which can result in drowning. When boating under the influence of alcohol, the operator may be more likely to make bad decisions, leading to accidents and potential drowning incidents.
Effects of Alcohol Enhanced by Heat, Sun Exposure, and Dehydration
The effects of alcohol can be intensified by factors such as heat, sun exposure, and dehydration, which are all common in aquatic environments. When combined with these factors, alcohol can have a more significant impact on a person's ability to swim and make good decisions.
In addition to increasing the risk of drowning for the person drinking, alcohol can also impair the ability of others to recognize and respond to a drowning victim. This means that even if someone else is sober and trying to help a drowning victim, they may not be able to do so effectively if they are impaired by alcohol.
American Red Cross: Completely Avoid Alcohol When Swimming or Boating
The American Red Cross recommends that swimmers and boaters avoid alcohol consumption altogether to reduce the risk of drowning and other water-related accidents. This is a strong recommendation, as even a small amount of alcohol can increase the risk of drowning. It is always better to err on the side of caution and avoid alcohol when around water.
Experienced Swimmers are at Risk for Alcohol Related Drowning Accidents
It is important to note that drowning accidents can happen to anyone, regardless of their swimming ability or experience. Alcohol can significantly increase the risk of drowning, but there are other factors to consider as well. For example, even experienced swimmers can become fatigued or suffer from cramps while swimming, which can lead to drowning. It is important to always be aware of your own limitations and take steps to stay safe when around water.
Additional Safety Considerations When Swimming or Boating
If you are planning to go swimming or boating, it is a good idea to take a few precautions. Make sure that you are wearing appropriate safety gear, such as a life jacket, and that you are familiar with the area where you will be swimming or boating. Avoid swimming alone, and always have someone else nearby who can help if needed. If you do choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation and never while swimming or boating.
Legal Rights After a Drowning Accident
If you or a loved one have been injured in a drowning accident, The Doan Law Firm is here for you. You can schedule an initial consultation with an experienced drowning accident lawyer any time of the day or night by calling our firm at (800) 349-0000. There is never a charge for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm drowning accident lawyer. Indeed, our firm never charges an attorney fee unless we win for you.