It sounds like a great idea to host a sweet summer party on the pier with all your friends. After all, those look like so much fun in the movies!
But mixing booze and docks over water can lead to serious consequences. In 2018 alone, alcohol accounted for 100 deaths or about 19% of fatalities on the water.
If you insist on having a pier party with alcoholic beverages, there are ways to increase the safety measures on your dock. Keep reading to learn the dangers of drinking on a pier and our favorite ways to help prevent an accident while dockside.
What Can Happen When You Drink on a Dock
It’s not all tall tales and scary stories meant to ruin any fun pier parties. There are actual dangers of getting sloshed out around the water. Here are some of the reasons why you should think twice about bringing booze out to the pier.
Effects of Alcohol on the Body and Mind
When you drink, alcohol affects many parts of your body and mind. Some of these effects are extra dangerous around water like at the end of a pier. Here are a few of the ways drinking is dangerous around bodies of water.
When someone has had a few drinks, they tend to stumble around and have difficulty walking. When they’re drunk, people fall over more due to this lack of balance. In the case of a pier party, there’s a good chance that someone might fall over and dive right into the water!
If you have a floating dock, then keeping balance over the water is hard when you’re sober, let alone after a few drinks!
Reduced Judgment Skills
Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes you do things you would never do while sober. Many people regret things they say or do while under the influence of alcohol.
If you have a bunch of people on a pier drinking and losing their inhibitions, you never know what crazy schemes your partygoers might come up with. Someone might consider going skinny dipping or diving off the roof of the gazebo at the end of the pier! It’s best to make sure your guest stay sober while they party over the water.
Slowed Reaction Time
When you drink, your reaction time slows down a bit too. Studies found that a blood alcohol level of .08 (the legal limit) slows your reaction time by about 120 milliseconds! Those few milliseconds can keep you from slipping off the pier and into the water.
You don’t want to embarrass yourself in front of your friends or end up with a serious injury. Best keep the beverages boose-less and opt for mocktails instead!
Ways to Increase Safety in Your Pier
Plenty of companies have noticed the dangers that happen around piers. Here are some of our favorite tips for improving the safety of your aquatic entertainment area.
No matter what material you make the pier out of, when it’s wet, the chances of you slipping increase. The good news is that there are strips you can lay down that have a sandpaper-like texture that your shoes can grip onto when you’re walking around on a wet surface.
Over years of use and weathering, these strips will need replacing when the texture wears down and it feels smooth again. When that happens, peel up the old strips and replace them with new ones to keep the area super safe, even when slick with water!
Some piers float on the water and move with the waves. This makes it hard to walk around without holding onto something or someone for support. For these kinds of situations, you need a secure handrail in place.
Even if the pier doesn’t float around, a handrail can help when the walking surface gets wet. In case you or someone else slips, they can use the handrail to regain control and prevent themselves from falling into the water.
One of the best ways to ensure no one slips off the edge and into the water is to have the whole area well lit. Use string lights, piling cap lights, or other illumination methods to banish every shadow.
You can even buy glow in the dark paint and use it to make the edges of the pier glow at night without using any electricity!
No matter what you do to prevent someone from falling into the water, you should also prepare for that happening. Keep a few flotation devices secured to the pier that you can remove and toss to the person in the water.
Check these flotation devices every so often to make sure they’re in good repair and that you can still remove them without a huge amount of effort.
Booze and Boats Don’t MIX Either
Remember, any time you’re out over the water, you should take every precaution to ensure the safety of everyone around you. You should not become intoxicated when out on a boat, pier, or anything else that extends over the water.
Whether you’re drinking or entertaining sans spirits, there’s plenty of ways to improve the safety of your pier area. The biggest thing is to ensure the whole area is well lit.
We hope you enjoyed reading this article and that you learned a few things about the dangers of drinking on the dock.