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June 9, 2021 - As summer heats up, Michiganders are urged to celebrate the season safely at gatherings and activities especially where alcohol might be consumed. Remember to keep your alcohol consumption in check and never drink and drive, urges the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC).
"The state's 19,000 liquor licensees are excited to have their bars, restaurants, hotels, distilleries and wineries now open for patrons to enjoy Pure Michigan," said MLCC Commissioner Dennis Olshove. "If you drink alcohol, do so responsibly. Make this a great summer to remember for all the right reasons."
Many summer activities can become dangerous when alcohol is involved. Don't drink alcohol while swimming, boating or even shooting off a few fireworks, as there can be deadly risk factors.
"Don't drink and swim," said MLCC Commissioner Geralyn Lasher. "Never drink while watching the kids in the pool or at the lake. Having that margarita (or two) will slow your instinct to react if you're needed in an emergency."
Alcohol contributes to at least 20 percent of all adult deaths due to drowning each year; and as high as 41 percent for young adults between 15 to 29 years old. Alcohol impairs your coordination, lessens your ability to react quickly and distorts depth perception, which can result in injuries from diving into shallow water; misjudging the depth of the water or strength of a current; and blacking out and slipping under the water.
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Remember, before swimming:
- Wait awhile after drinking. Depending on how much you're drinking, one single beverage takes about one to two hours to metabolize.
- Watch what you're drinking. Alcohol by volume is a lot lower in a can of beer than the alcohol content in grain liquor or vodka.
- Watch your body temperature. Alcohol can cause your body temperature to become lower than normal, causing hypothermia if the water is cold.
"Boat sober, as drunk boating is not unlike drunk driving," said MLCC Commissioner Edward Toma. "Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths.*"
In Michigan, there were 181 boating accidents statewide in 2020, including 33 deaths, 20 drownings and almost $2.2 million in property damage.** If you boat under the influence (BUI) your voyage may be terminated, the boat may be impounded and you, the operator may be arrested. Michigan law treats BUI similar to driving under the influence (DUI); the blood alcohol limit is .08 percent, matching the standard for drunk driving a car.
- Alcohol use can impair a boater's judgment, balance, vision and reaction time.
- Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion, common boating environment "stressors" intensify the effects of alcohol.
- Alcohol is dangerous for passengers too. Intoxication can cause slips, falls overboard and other accidents.
To view the list of alcohol restrictions at Michigan's state parks and recreation areas, and boating access sites go to: DNR - Alcohol Restrictions (michigan.gov).
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The MLCC is pleased to promote Operation Dry Water*** July 2-4, 2021. This year-round boating under the influence awareness and enforcement campaign peaks on the Fourth of July holiday, unfortunately known for increased drinking and boating, and deadly incidents.
"Alcohol and fireworks absolutely do not mix," said MLCC Commissioner Lee Gonzales. "Having a drink or two impairs judgment and is especially dangerous when dealing with fireworks."
If you're in charge of the fireworks show, remember:
- Alcohol-based hand sanitizers are extremely flammable. If you're using hand sanitizer, avoid getting burned with a firework mishap; switch to soap and water.
- Save your beer or cocktail until after the show and keep guests who are drinking alcohol well away from fireworks.
"Drinking alcohol in hot weather also has health risks," said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. "The dangerous ways the sun, heat and overindulging in alcohol together affect our body can result in heat stroke and dehydration."
If you choose to drink in hot weather, remember to:
- Alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water and eat foods with high water content - lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Avoid sugary alcoholic drinks like daiquiris, margaritas, and piña coladas that can lead to dehydration.
It is the mission of the MLCC to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through the regulation of those involved in the importation, sale, consumption, distribution, and delivery of these alcohol products.
*National Association of State Boating Law Administrators; U.S. Coast Guard **Michigan Department of Natural Resources
*** National Association of State Boating Law Administrators
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