Stingrays are most commonly found in the coastal, shallow waters of temperate, subtropical and tropical seas around the world. Encountering stingrays while diving can be an awesome experience.
Dangers of meeting stingrays
Gliding gently through the water, they convey an image of calmness, peacefulness and elegance and, as a rule, they are indeed as calm and peaceful as they appear. When threatened or stepped on, however, they can inflict serious and occasionally even fatal personal injuries on divers.
Stingrays’ reaction to threats
While it is normally quite safe to approach stingrays, stingrays may feel threatened if a diver hovers directly over or in front of them.
In such an event, stingrays may rapidly whip their tails forward and strike the diver. When stingrays are stepped on, which is fairly common due to their habit of burying themselves in the sand in shallow waters, it will react in the same manner.
Stings and venom
Armed with razor-sharp, hard and venomous stings that can easily rip through wetsuits, fins or dive booties, stings are often also barbed, which could result in exacerbating a wound when trying to remove them.
Stingray venom contains enzymes that cause painful muscle contractions and cell death, making neutralising it as soon as possible essential. This is particularly important if struck by a sting near vital organs within the abdomen or chest, as such strikes can be fatal.
Stingray strikes can be easily avoided by approaching animals from behind or the sides, where it is difficult for them to reach with their tail.
Shuffling along the ground, particularly when entering shallow water in coastal areas known to be stingray habitats, rather than walking or wading, will prevent accidental injuries by stepping on rays.
Other diving incidents
All said and done, divers are far more likely to be injured by slips, trips and falls, diving accidents involving faulty equipment or human error than being injured by a ray. Like ray-related injuries, other diving injuries and injuries by slipping, tripping or falling can, and should, also often be prevented easily.
If you were injured by a slip, trip or fall or any other kind of diving accident for which someone else was responsible, the responsible individual may be liable to pay your personal injury compensation.
Obtain confidential, no-obligation advice on claiming for compensation and enlist the help of Accident Advice Helpline injury claim experts now by calling our 24/7 freephone helpline on 0800 689 0500. For calls from mobiles, please dial 0333 500 0993.
Date Published: April 29, 2016
Author: Accident Advice