Sarasota County would like to remind beachgoers to do the stingray shuffle when venturing out into the water.
“The Gulf waters are at the warmest this year,” said Scott Montgomery, with Sarasota County emergency management. “Stingrays tend to be camouflaged when they’re in the water and bury themselves within the sand.”
Montgomery said stingrays tend to go closer to shore during their late-summer mating season.
“When the stingrays sting, they release a toxin to the body,” he said. “The sting is predicated on one’s pain tolerance. I’ve seen adults who got stung experience almost nothing and some who were in tears.”
Montgomery said a couple of people on average get stung each day in Sarasota County.
“We recommend shuffling feet along water to scare them off,” he said. “It sends a vibration to the stingray so it goes off before you are nearby.”
Stings are displayed as puncture wounds. Some will contain the stingray’s barb and some will bleed. Montgomery said parents should be on the lookout when it comes to their kids.
“If you get stung, go to a lifeguard,” he said. “If there’s no lifeguard, go home and put the affected area in hot water, as hot as you can stand, as the toxin will neutralize over time and relieve pain.”
Montgomery said a lifeguard on duty will signal a reported sting waving a purple flag signifying hostile marine life.
“Lido Beach seemed to be most active when it comes to stingrays, but activity can pick up at any other beach,” he said.
For more information, visit scgov.net or call 941-861-5000.