U.S. Navy officials have found a modern way to promote responsible drinking among sailors. It’s simple: there’s an app for that.
As part of the Navy’s “Keep What You’ve Earned” campaign, which seeks to encourage safe drinking and smart decisions among sailors by celebrating the achievements in their Navy careers, officials are touting a new mobile app dubbed “Pier Pressure.”
The app – launched earlier this month by the Navy Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention office and available for download on the iTunes app store and Google Play – reminds sailors to think twice before drinking irresponsibly or driving under the influence.
Using the app, sailors can check their blood-alcohol level with a built-in BAC calculator or search for a safe, sober ride home using a local taxi search tool.
The app also includes different work-and-play scenario games that could have different outcomes depending on the decision made by a sailor. The point of the game is to advance one’s career, but players must make the right choices in order to succeed. The game can be played to determine how a night of drinking could impact work life and possibly get a sailor demoted in rank.
"In the game, the choices you make at the bar affect your skill level at work the next day, which in turn affects your player's evaluation reports," said Mike Aukerman, Alcohol Program Manager at NADAP, in a media release. "Just like in real life, smart drinking choices help advance your career, while poor choices can get you separated from the Navy – aka game over."
In order to develop the app to be user-friendly, entertaining and truly useful for sailors, the Navy tested the mobile app using feedback from more than 110 sailors.
"During the development of the Keep What You've Earned Campaign, we heard from young, enlisted Sailors that the best way to reach them was through their mobile phones," said Dorice Favorite, Director of NADAP, in a press release. "Pier Pressure will help Sailors understand how responsible drinking can keep their careers on track, and alternatively, how abusing alcohol can lead to serious consequences."
NBC 7 San Diego spoke with one sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Carlos Oliva, who said he downloaded the app and thinks he will use it.
“I could see myself using the BAC calculator, which will help me determine how many drinks I could drink depending on the amount of hours out during St. Patrick’s Day,” said Oliva.
U.S. Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Mike Stevens told NBC 7 that the app, as well as the “Keep What You’ve Earned” campaign, is meant to remind sailors of the consequences of making foolish mistakes.
“We’ve seen too many sailors that have worked so hard to put their families and themselves in a position of success and the ability to serve our nation at the highest level. Then, they’ll go out and make a bad choice or choices and, essentially, within the blink of an eye, everything that they’ve worked so hard for and all that the Navy has invested in them is lost,” said Stevens.
To learn more about the ongoing campaign, which also promotes alternatives to drinking for sailors, visit this website.