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on the 30
July 2013 at 18:35
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Over the past few weeks Newquay and the UK have enjoyed some great weather, temperatures have been warm at night and as a result a number of people have decided that part of their evenings entertainment will include a swim in the sea.
Almost every individual I have spoken to that has decided to go for a dip has been under the influence of alcohol, most have little or no experience of the sea.
Alcohol contributes to at least 20 per cent of all adult drowning deaths every year. This rises to 41 per cent in the 15â€“29 years age group but the overall figure is likely to be higher as alcohol is not tested for in all drowning deaths.
We have been fortunate, nobody has yet come to harm, but there are huge risks in going swimming in the sea at night whilst under the influence of alcohol.
Drinking alcohol impairs your senses, encouraging risk-taking behaviour, meaning you are more likely to get into trouble.
If you drink and get into the water, tired muscles and confusion from being under the influence of alcohol, makes it harder to get out of trouble.
There is a range of physical changes which occur when an individual consumes alcohol and then
engages in aquatic activity. These include (but are not limited to):
SPASM OF THE VOCAL CHORDS
Water in the windpipe triggers a reflex closure of the windpipe. Alcohol increases the chance that a spasm of the vocal chords will occur, snapping the airway closed. The combination of water and alcohol can lock the airway closed, making breathing difficult.
LACK OF COORDINATION
Alcohol numbs the senses particularly sight, sound and touch. When these senses fail, the stumbles and stutters kick in and swimming abilities may be altered.
DISTURBANCE OF THE INNER EAR
Fluid in the ear is responsible for balance. Alcohol and a sudden change in temperature can led to disorientation. Diving into the water is a perfect opportunity for this: all of a sudden, up becomes down.
Alcohol increases blood flow to the arms and legs, even when the body would normally try to stop this action to save from heat loss. If you fall into cold water under the influence of alcohol, hypothermia could potentially occur.
IMPAIRED REACTION TIME
As a depressant, alcohol reduces the rate the brain processes information. Ordinary reactions simply take longer. On the water, a quick response is vital.
Alcohol distorts your perception of risk, and your own abilities. With less accurate information pouring into the brain, youâ€™re not as well equipped to make the right decisions.
Take a look at this picture, how difficult is it going to be to spot someone in trouble?
Please, exercise some common sense, look after your friends, don't let them go in the sea after consuming alcohol.
Remember in an emergency dial 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
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