Be aware of the risks of mixing water and alcohol this summer

SWIMMERS are being urged not to take to the water while under the influence of alcohol.

As high summer temperatures draw visitors and locals alike to rivers and pools this month, Alpine Shire Council is warning that alcohol and water don’t mix.

Council’s Recreation Promotion Officer David Stokie said swimmers must be aware of the risks associated with drinking and swimming.

“The Royal Life Saving Association of Australia has identified that alcohol consumption is a contributing factor in at least 20% of all adult drowning deaths in Australia,” he said.

“In the 15 – 29 age group this rises to at least 41 per cent – these figures are likely to be even higher as not all drowning deaths are tested for the involvement of alcohol.”

Mr Stokie said it was easy for people to enjoy a few drinks and head to the water to cool off without understanding the risks.

“Alcohol impairs judgement and reaction time, prompts greater risk taking behaviour and reduces coordination,” he said.

“This becomes a big problem particularly around river pools, where there are often high ledges that people jump off or unexpected currents.

“Having alcohol in the system also decreases the effectiveness of CPR – alcohol reduces your chance of surviving a near drowning as CPR is less likely to work.

“People need to understand how risky it is to get into the water after drinking.”

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