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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Drinkaware warns alcohol is contributory factor in a third of all drownings in Ireland

Published 17/06/2014 | 17:01

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If someone is spotted in trouble in the water, shout and encourage them to kick their legs, reach for them with a tree branch, stick, hurley or clothing, and throw a football or anything that floats to help the person stay above water.

Those enjoying the sunshine this week are being warned of the dangers of mixing alcohol consumption and swimming.

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Alcohol is a contributory factor in a third of all drownings in Ireland, drinkaware.ie reminded people today.

Drinkaware.ie are warning people not to resort to beaches, rivers and lakes to cool off if they have consumed alcohol.

“With warm sunny weather forecast for the coming days, people throughout Ireland will be visiting their local beach, river or lake to swim and cool off,” Fionnuala Sheehan, Chief Executive of drinkaware.ie said.

“Drinkaware.ie is encouraging everyone thinking of going for a swim with friends or taking part in water sports over the coming days to remember that alcohol and swimming are not a good mix.” 

Alcohol has been proven to slow down people’s reaction time, impacts their coordination, and affects their perception of distance and direction.

When it comes to water-sports, this can be an extremely dangerous combination.

“There is approximately one standard drink in a glass—not a pint—of beer, lager, or cider; a small glass of wine; or a single pub-measure of spirits,” Ms Sheehan continued.

“On average, it takes about an hour for the body to process a standard drink. If you’ve had a few drinks and plan to go out on or into the water, then we would encourage you to do the maths and hold off until the alcohol is gone from your system.”

The message to the public, Fionnuala said,  is to never ever drink and dive, swim or sail.

When enjoying the summer weather, the public are being advised to swim at waterways with a lifeguard at duty and wear lifejackets when sailing.

If someone is spotted in trouble in the water, shout and encourage them to kick their legs, reach for them with a tree branch, stick, hurley or clothing, and throw a football or anything that floats to help the person stay above water.

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