Understanding stingray behavior is the first step to ensuring a fun and safe day at the beach.
CCA helps to protect all of the inhabitants of Crystal Cove’s Underwater Park—even the ones that bite, sting and are poisonous!— but wants beachgoers to enjoy an unforgettable day at the coast. Warmer months particularly see higher numbers of round stingrays, a species that’s part of the natural ecosystem at Crystal Cove. With these simple yet important tips from Crystal
Cove State Park acting superintendant Eric L. Dymmel, enjoy a safe summer at the cove while being respectful of its underwater residents.
- Most importantly, do the stingray shuffle: Round stingrays are flat and well adapted
to blend into the sand, preferring shallow waters near the shore. “To reduce your risk of
being stung, shuffling your feet as you walk allows you to scare off the stingray, thereby
avoiding the tail and stinger,” Eric says.
- Step lightly: If you feel something soft under your feet, immediately move away as
quickly as possible. When stepped on, stingrays will whip up their tail and “sting” you
with the venomous barb as a means of self-defense. Being alert to your underwater
surroundings is a key practice in beach safety.
- If you’ve been stung: “Exit the water and seek attention from the local lifeguard,” Eric
advises. “If there are no lifeguards available, seek medical attention. A stingray wound is
especially likely to become infected.”
- Don’t be afraid: “No need to have fear—just use some caution,” Eric says. Stingrays are
nonaggressive animals, but hate to be stepped on!
Photo by Jody Tiongo