USS NIMITZ, At Sea -- "Don't make alcohol your only liberty buddy," is a common phrase often heard coming from the commanding officer, whether over the 1 Main Circuit (1MC) or during Captain's Call for all hands, it's something every Sailor on board the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) has heard at some point.
Walking about the passageways, Sailors can often spot posters depicting "ZZ13" across the top.
ZZ13 means zero underage drinking, zero driving under the influence (DUI) citations, one drink per hour and three drinks per night.
"ZZ13 is a Navy-wide initiative," said Chief Hospital Corpsman David Cunningham, Nimitz' Drug and Alcohol Program Advisors (DAPA) coordinator. "It's what the Navy considers to be responsible drinking."
After Navy-wide surveys were conducted and data compiled, it was discovered that the three drinks per night at a rate of one drink per hour is responsible drinking.
"Three drinks in a night is normal," said Lt. Douglas Santillo, Nimitz' health promotion coordinator. "ZZ13 promotes drinking in moderation as opposed to binge drinking."
A ship-wide survey was conducted a few months ago, asking Sailors questions such as what they think the average Sailor consumes in a night and how many drinks they consume in a night.
"On average, Sailors have the mindset that eight drinks per night is what the average Sailor drinks when in actuality, it's really only about three to four drinks being consumed," said Santillo.
DAPA distributed Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) cards to the crew to bring awareness of how much Sailors should drink and still be responsible based on their weight and how many drinks they are consuming.
"It's hard to gage different size people," said Cunningham. "The Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) cards should help people determine where they should be. ZZ13 is intended to give a broad spectrum of what we expect to be responsible drinking. And if you follow the ZZ13 guide, you know you won't get incapacitated to the point where you can't function. With one drink per hour and three drinks per night, we know you should be ok, and that covers all the weight ranges."
ZZ13 is designed to bring alcohol awareness to Sailors so they understand what exactly responsible drinking is. They can learn how to drink responsibly and prevent bad decisions from being made due to the amount of alcohol consumed.
"A lot of Sailors who get in trouble usually say they didn't realize they drank as much as they had because they weren't paying attention," said Cunningham. "By using this campaign and the cards, we are giving them the opportunity in the back of their mind to start thinking about how many drinks they'll have in a night. A lot times they'll just go out and start drinking, having a good time, and not pay attention and that's where trouble starts. We are just trying to help give them some situational awareness about how much they've been drinking."
"Sailors can check the POD (plan of the day) for ZZ13 notes, look for signs and posters throughout the ship and we're planning to do a 5K run during this underway to bring awareness," said Santillo.