Purple flags are up: Clearwater Beach officials issue stingray, jellyfish warning

(Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

For those planning to hit Clearwater Beach, city officials are reminding beachgoers to do the "stingray shuffle."

Lifeguards have raised the purple flag, which is a warning to let beachgoers know there have been sightings of stingrays and jellyfish.

Between April and October, and as the weather grows warmer, these creatures typically make their way closer to shore. 


The city of Clearwater shared a video on Facebook Tuesday reminding people to shuffle their feet in the sand, rather than walking, whenever they enter the water. The vibrations usually make stingrays swim away.

"What that's going to do is it's going to stir up the sand, cause vibrations that are going to allow the stingrays to know that you're in the area and they're simply going to swim away," said Brooke Bowersox, an animal care specialist at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, who also described why stings hurt so much. "They actually have a barb. So that barb is actually what's going to sting and that barb also has serrated edges and it does contain venom."

Anyone who does fall victim to a stingray should find a lifeguard immediately for a hot pack treatment and further medical assistance, if needed.

According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation, jellyfish typically drift with ocean current. Winds, currents and storm activity can bring them near beaches.

If someone gets stung by a jellyfish, the South Carolina city of Hilton Head offered these tips.


(Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)