Stingrays can be found swimming in the water at every beach in Florida, including Clearwater Beach. Stingrays are not aggressive and are quite shy. You usually won’t see them at all. Injuries from stingrays occur when the stingray gets frightened. You can lower your chances of being stung by a stingray by learning a little about them, and what you can do to avoid them.
How To Avoid Stingrays
There’s no way to completely avoid stingrays. Every beach in Florida has stingrays swimming in the ocean water. Stingrays can be found any time of year, but the Florida stingray season is April through October. The Florida stingray season is during the warmer months of the year because stingrays love warm shallow water.
While you may occasionally see large groups of them swimming together, you usually won’t see them at all. They often bury themselves in the sand when they rest to hide from their predators. Stingrays can often be found very close to the beach. They’ll swim and even bury themselves in the sand under the water within 3 to 10 yards off the beach.
Stingrays do not have very good eyesight. So while stingrays are shy and usually want to avoid you, they simply can’t see you that well and may swim towards you by accident. Since their eyesight is poor, stingrays use electro-sensors/vibrations to know what’s going on around them.
To avoid stingrays, do not run and jump into the ocean water with large steps like you’re starting a triathlon. Stingrays rest by burying themselves in the sand in the shallow water. If you run and jump into the ocean, you may step right on one without seeing it; possibly injuring the stingray and definitely frightening it. The stingray may sting you with its barb thinking you’re a predator trying to attack it.
Instead of taking large steps into the water, move a little slower and shuffle your feet in the sand as you walk in the ocean. Clearwater Beach has soft white sand, shuffling your feet will not be uncomfortable here. Shuffling your feet is the best way to avoid being stung by a stingray. If you hear people talking about the Florida Shuffle or Stingray Shuffle, it’s not a dance move. It’s how to avoid being stung by a stingray.
Shuffling your feet will lightly stir the sand around you as you move, pushing vibrations out in your surrounding area. This will let stingrays know you’re in the area and they will likely move away from you.
It doesn’t happen often, but if you ever see a large group of stingrays swimming down the beach in your direction, calmly shuffle your feet toward the beach and move out of their way. If there’s a large group of Stingrays swimming down the beach, you’ll usually see people slowly moving out of the water and that’s a good indicator that you should start heading toward the beach. If they sneak up on you and you don’t have time to move out of the water, just stay calm and stand still. Stingrays are quite calm and not aggressive. Relax and stand still so you don’t frighten them and you’ll be fine. The stingrays will all swim right by you, you may feel them lightly brush against your leg as they swim by, but that’s it.
Clearwater Beach, Florida is my favorite beach. I’ve been visiting Clearwater Beach for almost 30 years. I’ve never been stung by a stingray and I’ve only had a group of them swim past me two or three times. Usually, it’s a fairly small group and they’ll be completely past you in about 30 seconds. It’s actually a really cool experience. Just be safe and don’t try to touch them yourself.
What to do if you’re stung by a Stingray on Clearwater Beach
If you are accidentally stung by a stingray, get out of the water. You may not have even seen the stingray, but you’ll be surprised at how immediate the pain is. If you have trouble walking, which is normal, sit down and ask someone nearby to go to the closest Clearwater Beach Lifeguard station for you. All that needs to be said is that someone may have been stung by a stingray, and they’ll quickly move to help you and ease your discomfort.
The lifeguards will often bring large buckets of hot water with them. Allowing you to immediately start soaking your foot in hot water. The hot water quickly begins to lower the pain, but the discomfort may remain for several hours.
Clearwater Beach Lifeguards / Beach Patrol | (727) 462-6963
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