Summertime in California. Longboards, boardshorts and stingrays! Read on to help avoid getting stung by a stingray.
The stingray shuffle involves shuffling your feet on the bottom of the ocean floor instead of taking steps. It requires keeping your feet on the ground while moving forward instead of lifting them up and stepping down. This causes vibrations to be sent through the water, which causes nearby stingrays to leave the area because they quickly become spooked when they realize there is a large creature (read: you) coming their way.
Stingrays rely on vibrations to become more familiar with what’s around them because they have poor eyesight. The stingray shuffle is a safe way of navigating the ocean waters to avoid getting stung by a stingray with its barb.
Stingrays are known to bury their bodies under the sand in shallow water and can be difficult to see, even in clear waters. They don’t have the intent to sting people but do it because it’s a defense mechanism, especially if you step on their bodies. Stingrays are typically shy and gentle creatures.
When Is The Season For Stingrays In California?
In California, stingrays can be found in the Pacific Ocean at any time of the year. Some of the most popular beaches where stingrays are present and where people get stung the most are Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, and La Jolla.
Stingrays like to spend time in warm waters close to the shore. Most stings occur from June to August when more people are visiting the beach.
In states like Florida, stingrays are seasonal and arrive between the months of April to October. This is when the water is warmer off the coast.
How Do You Shuffle Your Feet For A Stingray?
You can shuffle your feet to ward off nearby stingrays by:
- Sliding your feet on the sand in the water.
- Try to push the sand forward with each foot.
- Start shuffling your feet on the sand as you make your way into the water to protect yourself.
- Avoid picking up your feet and placing them back onto the ground, which doesn’t work well for scaring off stingrays because it doesn’t cause any vibrations to be generated.
If you still happen to bump into a stingray while shuffling your feet, there’s less chance of getting stung rather than if you step directly on their backs.
What Happens When You Get Stung By A Stingray?
There’s a high chance an infection will occur once the spine and venom are in your skin. The pain is often immediate and can be severe for both children and adults. You may start to feel nauseous and weak. Fever and chills are also common symptoms. Some people who are allergic to the same venom in bee stings may develop an allergic reaction, which requires medical attention.
The pain can last up to 48 hours and is only the most severe 30 to 90 minutes after the sting occurs. Most people describe the sting as similar to stepping on glass.
Find a lifeguard to get immediate assistance if get stung.
How Do You Treat A Stingray Sting?
If you happen to be stung by a stingray, you need to immediately call an ambulance. You can also find a lifeguard tower to visit, which should be equipped with a first aid kit or buckets of water to treat the sting.
Avoid removing any of the stingray’s spine in your skin and wait until the medical professionals arrive. Tweezers are also useful for removing the spine if you feel confident to do it yourself. You can remove some of the debris and sand by pouring a saltwater mixture over the affected area.
It’s also important to flush the injury with fresh water. Avoid using urine on the injury because this is not proven to treat this type of sting. The best treatment for the pain is to pour hot water of 100 degrees onto the site. The heat works well for breaking down the proteins in the venom and neutralizing the toxins. Leave the affected area submerged in water for up to an hour and a half. Avoid covering the wound with bandages or getting stitches.
You can expect the pain to decrease after six to 48 hours, depending on the severity of the sting and how it’s treated.
What Time Of Day Do Stingrays Come To Shore?
Stingrays prefer to travel together in schools and have a habit of coming to the shore between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day. This is also when there are more crowds of people present at the beach, increasing the risk of getting stung.
What Are The Chances Of Being Stung By A Stingray?
There are about 1,500 to 2,000 injuries related to stingrays in the U.S. each year. There is rarely the risk of fatality with stingray injuries. This is more common if multiple stings occur on the body. Only 17 deaths have been reported in the world due to a stingray injury.
To Stomp Or Shuffle? That Is The Question
Some people believe there isn’t any evidence that the stingray shuffle will scare off stingrays. Stomping can be more effective because it creates a stronger vibration that is easier for stingrays to detect, even at a distance. They may not detect shuffling from 10 feet away but can feel the vibration of the stomping from 20 feet away. Stomping works most effectively when you move your feet deliberately and slowly.
Slowly enter the water and look around to view your surroundings. Stomp your feet before you attempt to get onto your board. You can also wear stingray-resistant surf booties for even more protection.