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Alcohol and water sports can be a deadly combination

Published on October 21, 2016 at 14:43 / Updated on May 3, 2021 at 20:25

It’s warm and sunny, and it’s your day off. It’s hard to resist the urge to head for a stretch of water to swim, fish, or enjoy water sports. On such outings, many are tempted to add a few refreshing alcoholised drinks to the cooler, but alcohol and water sports can prove to be a very dangerous combination.

About one hundred people die in this province in any given year. However, most drownings could be avoided and are often due to risk-taking or an oversight, such as forgetting to put on a life jacket. Approximately 80 percent of victims are men, because they are generally more reckless than women.

Alcohol appears to be a factor in nearly half of all drownings among adults and teenagers, mainly because it can impair judgment and increase risk-taking. For example, swimmers are more likely to go out too far from shore and be unable to make it back, or they may not notice how cold they're getting. In the pool, inebriated individuals are also more likely to dive into water that is too shallow. And among boaters, alcohol can impair balance, vision and reaction time, which explains why alcohol is a factor in three out of five boating deaths.

Drinking and driving rules apply to water sports as well! So enjoy your favourite water sports first and save the alcoholised drinks for when you’re safely back on shore. Moderation is always in good taste, even on lakes and rivers!

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