Alcohol and Drowning

How Alcohol Use Can Increase your Chances of Drowning

Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While there are a number of risk factors associated with unintentional drownings, one of the most preventable is alcohol use.  According to the CDC, “alcohol use is involved in up to 70% of deaths associated with water recreation.”  In addition, alcohol use is associated with “almost a quarter of ED [Emergency Department] visits for drowning.”

Other risk factors for drownings include:

  • Failure to wear life jackets
  • Access to swimming pools
  • Lack of supervision
  • Lack of barriers
  • Lack of swimming ability

It is always important to adhere to safety precautions when participating in water activities.  Alcohol can cause a lack of coordination, balance and impair a person’s judgment.  All of these may prove fatal when mixed with swimming pools or water and boating activities.  The CDC recommends completely avoiding alcohol when participating in water recreation and when supervising children in and around the water.  Choosing to remain sober while swimming, boating or water skiing can not only save your lives but the lives of everyone around you.

Summer safety begins at home.  Regardless of age, drowning is a real risk.  While most drowning victims are children, many adults also fall victim to unintentional drowning or boating related fatalities.  Alcohol increases the chances that you will be injured or die in and around the water.