Alcohol and Aquatics

Do they mix?

While many drowning scenarios (rock fishing, home pools etc) are on the decline, youth drownings associated with alcohol consumption are on the rise.

Statistics from Water Safety New Zealand (DrownBase) reveal that between 2002 and 2006, 26% of youth drownings were associated with alcohol consumption.

In an attempt to gain a greater understanding of the situational contexts and motivations of youth to consume alcohol and engage in aquatic activity, WaterSafe Auckland, in collaboration with Alcohol Healthwatch, Communities Living Injury Free, CAYAD and Youthtown, conducted a series of focus groups. These were Auckland based, with 21 youths, aged 15-17yrs.

The aims of the study were to:

  1. Ascertain the personal experiences of observations of youth with regards the use of alcohol in, on and around water;
  2. Examine the contexts, both social and situational, in which alcohol consumption and aquatic activity occurs; and
  3. To identify at-risk behaviours and make recommendations to promote safe practice among youth around water and when engaged in youth participation.

Discussion revealed several surprising results and highlighted the extent of the problem within Auckland City, especially around public events near aquatic environments. Significant gender differences occurred, particularly in regard to the safety practices youth use to keep themselves safe.

Based on the recommendations from the study, the working group is working closley with the Auckland City Council to promote safer environments for youth around public events situated near open water.

For further information on this research contact Teresa Stanley
teresa.stanley@watersafe.org.nz

Swim Safe Swim Sober

Royal Life Saving New South Wales (Australia) has released the results of a study examining drowning in NSW and the influence of alcohol.

Not unlike New Zealand, Australia is a nation of water lovers but this love of aquatic recreational pursuits coupled with a few cold beers leads to an increased risk of drowning.

You can download the full report from the Resources panel (right) and visit their website for further information www.royalnsw.com.au

Other links:

Community Action On Youth And Drugs

Alcohol Healthwatch