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Dangers of drink-diving highlighted by campaign

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Police on both sides of the border have joined forces to advise divers not to drink too much the night before they take to the water.

The amazing underwater world that exists off the Farne Islands and St Abbs has made them increasingly popular with divers in recent years.

However, the police, RNLI and Marine and Coastguard Agency are concerned that some could be putting themselves at risk by not knowing the dangers of drinking and diving.

Sergeant Steve Howe of Northumbria Police Marine Unit, said: “The effects of alcohol are well known and even a small amount can have an affect on someone’s judgement and seriously effect the complex skills required for safe diving.

“A diver who has consumed alcohol, even if it was the night before, is at an increased risk than if alcohol hasn’t been consumed. We would urge all divers, whether new or highly experienced, to take heed of this advice.”

Police Scotland launched a ‘don’t drink and dive’ safety campaign in St Abbs on Friday.

PC Richard Toward, the Eyemouth community beat officer who developed the initiative, said: “Many of those who come to the area are highly experienced and well-equipped for what can be a dangerous sport.

“One issue, however, is that some divers drink the night before they dive, and this can contribute to increasing the risks to divers.

“The waters around Eyemouth attract divers from all down the east coast of Scotland and the north-east of England and our message to them is to drink responsibly and dive safely.”

The campaign will run over the summer to raise awareness of the issue. It will target local dive boats, dive centres, accommodation providers bed and breakfast, hotels and caravan parks, pubs and restaurants with a view to them displaying and giving out leaflets to divers who may use their facilities.

PC Toward said: “The campaign will continue with engagement with divers at local shore diving sites to groups of divers who may visit the area and our overall aim is to reduce the number of times the emergency services and NHS have to respond to divers needing assistance.”

 

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