It’s coming up to midnight and your new dive buddy says “Let’s have one before the last one!” The weather is warm and the air smells like Tropical Island and holiday, so you think ‘Why not?” fully aware that you will be diving tomorrow.
Drinking and holidays go together like Rum and Coke, like cocktails and umbrellas, like gin and… you get the point. Drinking and diving, however make a less perfect match. Not only is drinking before a dive a safety risk, but overdoing it the night before might lead to a not so pleasant morning after. If you are wondering whether this is possible, try taking a breathalyser the morning after a big night. If you are not ok to drive, you are not ok to dive.
Drinking the night before not only leads to dehydration and a higher risk of DSC (and potentially masking the symptoms), it influences your awareness and reaction time in potential emergency situations – even if you do not think so, makes you get colder faster and could cause nitrogen narcosis to occur more intensely or at shallower depts.
Next time you are out drinking the night before a dive try some of these to have a better and safer ‘morning after the night before’ dive.
Keeping up with the Joneses
Diving is a very social sport and with that and the holiday vibes we tend to drink a bit more. On top of that no one wants to be the boring one at the bar. You don’t have to match your dive buddy drink for drink. We all get caught up by the night sometimes but by pacing yourself and drinking smaller drinks, ideally drinks with a lower alcohol content, you will still have a good time while consuming less alcohol. You can always use the money you save on alcohol to give your dive guide a great tip, they will love you for it!
Line your stomach
Eat a proper meal before you start drinking and while you are drinking try to have some snacks to slow down the absorption of alcohol in your body.
One for the diver, one for the dive
Alternate each alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic beverage like water, fruit juice or soda. Be careful not to go too crazy and over hydrate. Yes, such a thing exist. We tend to start drinking a lot earlier while on holiday than we would back home – think cocktails as the sun sets over the ocean. Remember though that if you start drinking at 4 in the afternoon and finish at 11 that night that is the equivalent of drinking from 8 in the evening to 3 in the morning. It is recommended that you stop drinking 12 hours before your next dive.
If you feel like you need to take the hair of the dog you should rather skip the dive.
Have you ever aborted a dive because you had a headache, felt nauseous or vomited, were still drunk, weren’t thinking clearly or felt a bit slow or felt over tired after a big night the night before?
* A version of this article first appeared at www.scubadiverlife.com