Our View: Take your water activities straight " no alcohol " this summer

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Living in the foothills is like residing in Mother Nature?s amusement park. There?s plenty of fun and exhilarating activities ? mountain biking, hiking, swimming, fishing, whitewater rafting, boating, tubing and plenty more. But like any amusement park, you need to follow the rules, otherwise you could get hurt. With the rising temperatures and multiple outlets for water-based activities, many are making their way onto the region?s waterways. And for some, a six-pack or more of alcohol seems to be a necessary piece of equipment. With the official start of summer still nearly two weeks away, the Journal has already reported on people mixing booze with outdoor activities on the water. During her ride along with park peace officers at the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area recently, Reporter Sara Seyydin recounted a young woman on a boat who was not breathing due to possibly consuming too much alcohol. Enjoy the beauty of the area, and the rush of water sports, but keep the booze in the liquor cabinet at home. All too often we hear of, and report on, tragedies where someone was either seriously injured, or killed, due to consuming too much and getting on the water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among teens and adults, alcohol use is involved in 70 percent of deaths when it comes to water recreation. One in five boating deaths is because of alcohol and nearly a quarter of emergency department visits for drowning are because of alcohol. Drinking one too many beers can cause people to have slower motor skills and throw caution to the wind, taking chances that they most likely wouldn?t normally take. Mix in the high temperatures we experience here in the Sacramento valley with alcohol and you have a recipe for disaster. ?Quite often they reach their limit sooner because of the weather they are not used to,? Folsom State Recreation Area Peace Officer Joel Nunn told the Journal when talking about the mixture of alcohol and hot weather. But drinkers shouldn?t be the only ones taking precautions when it comes to water activities. The CDC reports that from 2005 to 2009 there was an average of 3,533 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boat related) annually in the United States. And about one in five that drown are children 14 years old and younger. And who?s most at risk? Males, nearly 80 percent of all people who die from drowning are male, according to the CDC. While those numbers may be startling, it doesn?t mean you can?t have fun this summer and enjoy what the foothills have to offer when it comes to aquatic fun. But be on alert ? and leave the booze at home.