How to avoid getting stung by stingrays

The best way to treat a stingray injury is to avoid it in the first place! From our experience these are some approaches to consider when trying to avoid stingrays!

  • As much as possible, try to avoid touching the seafloor–this is where the stingrays are. If you can swim, be on your surfboard, etc., do so for as much time as possible
  • Stingrays prefer warm water, gentle waves, and sandy beaches, so be especially careful under these conditions
  • Many beachgoers advocate doing the stingray shuffle, where you shuffle your feet on the sand as you walk along the ocean floor (eg, here). Others disagree, and have suggested methods of walking as well (eg, here). Unfortunately, we haven’t seen a thorough study on any methods, so it’s hard to tell how much these help, or which is best.
  • Of course, DragonSkin Booties significantly reduce the chance of stingray stings on your feet, so wear them whenever you can! 

If you do get stung, you can check out what to do here. Many people get treatment from the lifeguards right on the beach – talking to them is a good first step.

If a stingray stings you, the boney barb will cut your skin, and venom will enter the wound. At first it will feel like a normal cut, but after a bit you’ll start to feel the pain from the venom. For most people, the pain is at its worst about an hour after the sting, and goes away within two days. Some people take painkillers to manage the pain. At any rate you’ll probably want to cancel any immediate plans for the day. You might have swelling or redness at the location of the sting.

If you want to hear more detailed information from a first-hand account, checkout Brian Chernicky’s blog.