Stingray Safety!

Stingray Safety!

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.”
  4. 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

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