Drinking Alcohol At The Beach Is Riskier Than You Think. Here's Why.

Your day at the beach is finally here. Time to lie back in your lounge chair and enjoy that pitcher of frozen piña coladas you've been dreaming of. But before you start sipping, you should think twice about drinking alcohol at the beach, or at least how much alcohol is enough to still have fun while not putting yourself at risk.

Not surprisingly, NIAAA warns that if you plan to go swimming, drinking alcohol before you go into the water is not advisable. Even if you are an experienced swimmer, alcohol can impair your judgment and potentially make you feel emboldened, which could put you in dangerous situations, such as swimming out too far and not being able to get back to shore or, if you are a surfer, riding a wave that is too forceful for you to handle.

And don't even think about drinking alcohol before operating a boat. According to NIAAA, the U.S. Coast Guard has reported that nearly one-fifth of boating deaths are a result of alcohol consumption. This makes alcohol the leading known cause for boating-related fatalities. Any level of intoxication while on a boat — whether you are the operator or a passenger — is risky because it makes it difficult for boaters to react quickly during an emergency. Also, if you drink too much, you are more likely to slip and injure yourself or fall overboard.

Other reasons drinking alcohol at the beach is risky

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means you are more prone to become dehydrated if you drink too much alcohol, especially while out in the sun. And becoming dehydrated while out in the sun increases the risk of becoming overheated. So be sure to drink plenty of water if you plan on enjoying alcohol at the beach (via The Daily Meal).

And while getting in some good rays is important for vitamin D absorption, NPR reports that you are at greater risk for skin cancer if you drink too much alcohol while out in the sun. This is due to the way alcohol acts on the skin in combination with the likelihood that you will be less vigilant about applying sunscreen. "The research suggests that alcohol reduces the amount of time you can spend in the sun before you get a burn," Aaron White, a senior scientific adviser with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, tells NPR. "The added risk of sunburn with alcohol is probably one of the contributing factors to the [higher] rates of skin cancer [among] people who drink [alcohol]."

While there are clearly numerous reasons why it is important to exercise caution while drinking alcohol at the beach, this doesn't mean you need to deprive yourself of a good time. Just be mindful about staying hydrated, protecting your skin, and planning how you will spend your time and not overdoing it, and your day at the beach will surely be a day in paradise.