Date PostedDecember 1, 2013

Minister Warns That Alcohol and Water Shouldn’t Mix This Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again and many of us will be enjoying a lot more time outdoors with the weather heating up. It’s the time of year we look forward to the most and is characterized by fun in the sun and water, but sadly every year there are accidents which involve drunken people getting into the water and getting into trouble.

That is why the Royal Life Saving NSW CEO David McAllister is urging people not to mix alcohol and water. The Minister for Police and Emergency Services Michael Gallacher also joined in the call.

The 2 men’s organisations, Royal Life Saving and the NSW Government have launched a joint effort called “Swim Safe Swim Sober” at Nobby’s Beach Reserve on Friday.

The campaign is designed to educate teens about the consequences of consuming alcohol and swimming, not just at the beach but at rivers, creeks, waterways and swimming pools.

The common misconception among people is that one or two drinks are acceptable and that they can still safely get back into the water. Unfortunately alcohol’s effect on the body makes people unable to safely swim once intoxicated. Consumption of alcohol can drastically impair reaction times of swimmers and impair their judgment. It also inhibits their coordination and may even cause a loss of balance.

In addition to drowning people must also be aware about the dangers of combining drinking and other water recreational activities such as diving, surfing or jumping into bodies of water which can result in spinal cord injuries, leading to lengthy hospital stays and/or permanent disability.

Mr Gallacher was quoted by an article on as saying:

“People swim in creeks, rivers and waterways and the message to teens is don’t swim if you’ve had a drink. It’s a very deadly mixture.”


The state member for Newcastle Tim Owen also attended the launch of the campaign and joined in the warning,

State member for Newcastle Tim Owen also attended the launch and put his support behind safe and responsible conduct in the water.

“We don’t get behind the wheel after drinking, so we shouldn’t be when swimming, boating or rock fishing either,” Mr Owen said.


According to statistics one third of all drowning deaths of people between the 15 and 19 year old age group in the past decade in the area have been linked to alcohol consumption.

The post on goes on to explain more about the campaign,

One of the key strategies of the initiative is the Swim Safe Swim Sober online program. The online educational experience was designed to link to the NSW Personal Development, Health and Physical Education syllabus and includes video scenarios that explore the dangers of risk-taking behavior and peer pressure around water.

The campaign is particularly relevant as HSC students enter schoolies week, to mark the end of their schooling.

“Enjoy a well deserved break but be sensible and look after your mate,” Mr Gallacher said.


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Peter Cutforth is a Director at Urban E-Learning, a global elearning, OH&S training, and web strategy firm based in Little Edward St. Spring Hill, Brisbane, Australia. Urban E-Learning provides compliance related online , Distance and Face-to-Face training products in the construction, hospitality and heavy vehicle transport sectors, to name a few. Examples include the White Card Construction induction course and the RSA - Responsible Service of Alcohol course. Peter's interests extend to training, safety and compliance, online marketing, and Mobile Apps.

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