Alcohol & Drugs


Some people might like to consume a few drinks while enjoying their day at the beach, but it’s important to understand that swimming while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a recipe for disaster. Alcohol and drugs not only impair your judgement, but also significantly slow your reflexes – a dangerous, and potentially deadly, combination when it comes to the surf.  

Alcohol and drugs have contributed to 315 coastal drowning deaths in the last 15 years (2004 - 2019), which accounts for almost one-fifth (19%) of all coastal drowning deaths. Australian males are over-represented in alcohol and drugrelated coastal drowning deaths (86%), while men aged between 25-34 are highlighted to be particularly at risk (20%).

The Affects of Alcohol & Drugs

Alcohol and drugs can affect people in different ways. Consuming alcohol and drugs can lead to:

Impaired judgement

  • Prompting you to take unnecessary risks, while overrating your ability in the surf
  • Adversely impacting your ability to identify and manage dangerous situations

Lack of coordination and reaction time

  • It may affect your senses of sight, sound and touch
  • It may take you longer to react due to a decrease in brain response and ability to process information

Inability to control temperature

  • Overheating may result, due to dehydration and unawareness of sun exposure
  • Hypothermia could also result depending on conditions