Time to do the stingray shuffle

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.

About Tom

Tom Chang is a freelance journalist with a background in multimedia journalism and web publishing. He is currently pursuing his Masters in Journalism and Media Studies from the University of South Florida St.Petersburg. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelors Degree in Mass Communications at USF Tampa. Tom's interests include a little bit of everything from entertainment to sports. He also wishes to delve into creative writing writing sci-fi/fantasy stories. Tom was recently the Online Editor for USF St. Petersburg's the Crow's Nest, he joined the staff in January 2010 where he started freelance writing, photographing, copy editing and later became a staff writer. Tom’s freelance experience in journalism amassed a wide range of companies including Creative Loafing, The Focus Magazine, Lutz News, Examiner.com, and Tampa Tribune.
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