A pilot survey of aquatic activities and related consumption of alcohol, with implications for drowning

Public Health Rep. 1990 Jul-Aug;105(4):415-9.


The investigators considered the relationship between participation in aquatic activities and the consumption of alcohol, with their implications for the risk of drowning. In a telephone survey with random-digit dialing, interviewers asked Massachusetts residents ages 20 years and older how often they engaged in various aquatic activities, in what settings, and how often they drank alcohol in connection with participation in aquatic activities. Of 294 respondents, 79 percent of the men and 72 percent of the women reported participating in aquatic activities during August 1988, the month prior to the interview. Respondents were asked to identify their most recent aquatic activity. The mean number of days of participation in the month was 13. The most frequently reported aquatic activities were swimming (76 percent), followed by sunbathing (74 percent), power boating (25 percent), and fishing from shore (15 percent). Among those persons reporting participation in aquatic activities, 55 percent had been at the ocean on the most recent occasion, 26 percent at lakes or ponds, 17 percent at pools, and 2 percent at rivers. Among those persons reporting aquatic activities, 36 percent of the men and 11 percent of the women reported having drunk alcohol on the most recent occasion. Those who reported drinking in aquatic settings were more likely to report driving after drinking than those who did not drive. Implementation of new Federal regulations and State laws concerning drinking and boating should be accompanied by public education on the risks of drowning if aquatic activities and alcohol consumption are combined.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Drowning / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massachusetts / epidemiology
  • Middle Aged
  • Pilot Projects
  • Recreation*
  • Swimming*