LANSING, Mich. — State officials are urging Michiganders to be safe while celebrating at summer gatherings and activities, especially where alcohol may be consumed.
The Michigan Liquor Control Commission says to keep alcohol consumption in check and never drink and drive.
“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,” MLCC Commissioner Dennis Olshove said. “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 while swimming, boating or even shooting off a few fireworks, as there can be deadly risk factors, MLCC says.
“Don’t drink and swim,” MLCC Commissioner Geralyn Lasher said. “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 contributed to at least 20% of all adult deaths due to drowning every year, and as high as 41% for young adults between 15 to 29 years old.
Alcohol impairs coordination, lessons the 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.
Depending on how much someone drinks, a single beverage takes about one to two hours to metabolize.
Alcohol by volume is also a lot lower in a can of beer than the alcohol content in grain liquor or vodka.
It can also cause body temperature to become lower than normal, causing hypothermia if the water is cold.
“Boat sober, as drunk boating is not unlike drunk driving,” MLCC Commissioner Edward Toma. “Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boating deaths.”
In Michigan, there were 181 boating accidents in 2020, including 33 deaths, 20 drownings and almost $2.2 million in property damage.
Boaters under the influence may be arrested and have their boats impounded.
Michigan law treats boating under the influence like driving under the influence, with the blood alcohol limit for both being .08 percent.
Drinking is particularly dangerous when dealing with fireworks, the MLCC says, and guests who are drinking alcohol should be kept “well away” from fireworks.
In addition, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are extremely flammable.
Those who choose to drink in hot weather should also remember to alternate alcoholic drinks with a glass of water and eat foods with high water content, especially fresh fruits and vegetables.
Individuals should also avoid sugary alcoholic drinks like daiquiris, margaritas and pina coladas, which can lead to dehydration.