Alcohol is a often a big part of enjoyable summer activities: Weekend BBQs with family, late night bonfires at the cabin, days spent by the pool or the lake. However, as much fun as summer drinking can be, it’s also one of the most important times of the year to be cautious about your alcohol intake.
The effects of alcohol can be intensified by heat and humidity, altitude, and physical activities. So, before you head out on the boat all day with your cooler in hand, here are some important facts you should know about summer drinking:
Drinking in the sun rapidly dehydrates you
Alcohol is one of the most dehydrating substances that you can put in your body. Combine this with drinking all day in the hot summer sun and it can be a dangerous combination.
Not only is a dehydrated body less equipped to handle large amounts of alcohol, but it is also more prone to heat exhaustion. Heat exhaustion can cause a person’s body temperature to rise, produce dizziness and lightheadedness, and even cause a person to lose consciousness.
The tricky thing about the side effects of dehydration is that they can feel as if they come out of nowhere. The reason for this is that many people do not realize that they are dehydrated when drinking out in the sun, especially if they are drinking a cold beer to quench their thirst.
The best way to fight against dehydration while drinking in the summer sun is to match every alcoholic drink with a glass of water or juice. This will help to make sure that your body is staying hydrated throughout the day. Another good rule of thumb is to only drink alcohol after you’re no longer thirsty. Becoming thirsty is a sign that you are already dehydrated, so quench your thirst with the proper hydration that your body needs. One you are no longer thirsty, then have an alcoholic drink in moderation.
Alcohol inhibits your ability to operate watercrafts
It’s important to understand that the same things that make drinking and driving dangerous can also be applied to watercrafts: impaired judgment, coordination, information processing, etc. In fact, when you add in the sunshine, the wind and the constant motion of the waves, boating can be even more challenging.
Most states, including Texas, consider a boat operator to be legally impaired when their blood alcohol content is at .08 percent, a level that is usually reached after three or more drinks within an hour.
Even if you are a passenger on a watercraft, it is important to remember that alcohol can impair your balance, which may increase your chances of falling overboard.
Alcohol inhibits your ability to swim
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol is involved in 25-50% of water-related adult deaths. The biggest reason for this is that drinking can inhibit both your swallowing and breathing reflexes-both of which are essential for swimming.
It’s also important to remember that alcohol can affect your ability to judge distances. This can often lead people to swim far out into the lake or ocean, or even dive from a dangerous height.
If you remember these tips for responsible summer drinking and carefully consider the safety risks of mixing summer fun with alcohol, you can help to prevent an alcohol-related incident from ruining your fun summer season.