Labor Day weekend: Park rangers talk dangers of drinking and swimming

Labor Day weekend: Park rangers talk dangers of drinking and swimming

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - It's Labor Day weekend and local park rangers want to remind everyone of the importance of not drinking and swimming.

Local park rangers at Lake Thurmond said this year they have had 4 drownings related to alcohol, and are determined to not have any this labor day weekend.

As a retired New York state police officer Will Fareed truly believes drinking and swimming are two activities that do not go hand in hand.

"Your judgement is impaired. You might think that you're okay, but it's just not a good idea," Fareed said.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention said about 10 people die every day from drowning.

Lake Thurmond park rangers said it's their mission to make sure this does not happen on their watch.

Ron Woodall, a park ranger at Lake Thurmond, said unfortunately alcohol does increase one's confidence.

"There's a lot of people who think 'Oh I'm still sober, I'm okay, I can go do this,'" Woodall said.

But, park rangers said swimming is definitely not an activity for someone impaired, even for someone that's only had 1 drink.

"It's going to make it so that there's just a slightly different way you're operating your body. Everything from all your body mechanics, to breathing," Woodall continued, "And, if you end up out there a little bit deeper than you would suspect, and you go to breathe when you normally wouldn't, and you inhale water, that could be the end."

The CDC said 70% of adult drownings are alcohol related. With it being Labor Day weekend, those at Lake Thurmond would like to remind everyone that alcohol is prohibited in all of their parks.

Park rangers also want to remind everyone that drownings can occur in just a few feet of water.

"If you are severely intoxicated, and you fall down on the ground in the water. And, there's nobody around to pull you out. Then you could pass out under water and your last breath is going to be a breath of water and not air," Woodall said.

Park goers said it's important to watch out for others getting in the water, especially when you know they've been drinking.

Park attendee, Amy miller, said it's all about paying attention to your surroundings.

"You know, the only thing you can do is just say 'I think you should wait awhile before you go in the water. Ya know, if they've had a few beers after lunch or something. But, ya know, I just keep an eye on them, ya know and make sure their okay." –"best case scenario, swim then drink," Miller said.

According to the CDC, drowning is the fifth leading cause of unintentional injury death in the U.S. Males make up 80% of those drownings.

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