Julie Maxey-Allison | 10th Street
|A young victim soaking his foot
after being stung by a stingray.
Photo Julie Maxey-Allison.
Ouch! Del Mar has had more than its summer share of beach goers and they have had more than their share of stings from our Round Stingrays. Happy to hide in shallow waters beneath the sand, the rays feed on crabs and such during the day and like warm waters. Though not aggressive, a ray doesn’t like surprises and takes being stepped on personally. In defense, it retaliates with its nasty tail. The spikes on the tail’s barbed sheath break off when stepped on, dispensing toxin into the wound, quite painful to victim. FYI: the ray is not hurt and will go on to regrow its tail.
The Del Mar Lifeguards have been busily offering aid to injured beachgoers, as many as 10-15 a day, supplying a bucket continually filled with hot water in which to soak the foot and relieve the pain. Their advice: the stingray shuffle, a sort of penguin-like glide, is the safest way to step into and out of the ocean. Alerted, the stingray can swim off, a happy out come for all.
Record numbers of visitors populated our beautiful beach, some staying for a brief swim, others bringing equipment and sustenance to sustain them for, possibly, the duration, and at the least the entire day. Our lifeguards kept watch. From the time they set up till the time they closed our lifeguards kept busy. Busy being on alert and active to be sure swimmers and surfers were safe. Busy answering visitor’s inquiries. And very busy giving first aid to the swimmers and waders of all ages who got stung by ever-present stingrays.
Thank you for being on the job, making Del Mar beach welcoming and safe.