Alcohol: Underestimating Risks and Potential Consequences

STORY BY STU HUTCHINSON, BUSINESS OPERATIONS LEAD, NAVAL SURFACE WARFARE CENTER, OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH DIVISION

With the coming of warmer weather, many of us will be seeking high adventure in the great outdoors. For us thrill seekers, the picture below may look like great fun. It may also look too risky, and personally it looks a little Photoshopped to me.

Hold my BeerThe point here is that the use of alcohol may (and by “may” I mean “will”) cause you to underestimate the risks and potential consequences of many activities. This is why all the really stupendous stories of injury and death often start with “Hey, hold my beer and watch this.”

Of course with alcohol, there is a catch-22. Since it impairs your judgment, it’s almost impossible to exercise good judgment once you’ve started drinking. But there’s an easy way around this problem. All you have to do is exercise good judgment beforehand.

For you unpracticed drinkers, you may be wondering how to put this into action. Well, all you have to do is separate your drinking activities from your outdoor adventure activities. I know that may sound foreign to some, but it’s really not as hard as it sounds. Plan your zip lining, cliff-diving, rope-swinging into the lake, ATV steep hill climbing adventures as alcohol-free events, and save your beer drinking for later around the camp fire.

After all, beer really does taste better when someone else doesn’t have to hold it for you because you have two broken arms! Not to mention the continuing consequences of needing help with eating and other less glamorous life functions.

So if you drink, or do high-risk activities, please do so responsibly.