Divers often gather for a beer or two after a long day of diving, and some, let’s face it, drink more than just one or two! But what are the risks involved in doing this, especially when we are likely to get back in the water early the next morning?
Drinking heavily over a short time is well known to cause nausea, vomiting, memory loss, unsteadiness and slowed reaction time, slurred speech, poor co-ordination, impaired judgement and of course the lack of inhibition.
To go diving after drinking alcohol is very risky, even the following day. It can take more than 12 hours for the blood alcohol to fall to normal. A hangover is disabling and can result in:
- Headache and nausea, which increases risk of seasickness.
- Dizziness, poor co-ordination and judgement that will impede physical and mental performance.
- Dehydration that can be severe and increase the risk of decompression illness.
- Nitrogen narcosis symptoms may be amplified and brought on at a shallower depth than normal.
You not only put yourself at higher risk, but possibly also your buddy.
Dr John Parker (a diving physician and Senior Dive Medical Consultant for DAN AP) recommends:
- Limiting your alcohol intake to no more than two standard drinks the night before a dive and retiring to bed at an early time.
- There should be no alcohol intake the day of diving until all dives have been completed.
- Before taking any alcohol ensure you have drunk plenty of water and are well hydrated.