View Full Version : do you live near gulf in FL and swim in ocean?

September 23rd, 2003, 09:49 AM
If so, can you tell me if the sharks come up, if there are jellies, and if stingrays will hurt you.

I've got fears of open swimming in the gulf--which is a shame--everytime I try to overcome, there goes a stingray, and i dash to the shore. Maybe some facts could help me with perspective and not be a scardy-cat.

Jerrycat ;)

Tom Ellison
September 23rd, 2003, 10:02 AM
Sting Rays usually do not bother you unless you step on them (they bury in the sand). They have a barb on their tail which can cause you problems but it is very, very rare that it is life threatening. Jelly fish can cause problems. I suggest you talk to the local folks and they will tell you the cure if you come into contact with them. Again, rare but it happens.

Sharks are their but chances are you'll never have a problem. Swimming at night increases the risk as well as very murky water. Do not wear flashy jewelry or type items and the Barracudas will generally leave you alone.

I grew up in South Florida and swam in the waters around South Florida, Bahamas for years and never had a problem except for a sting from a Portuguese Man-O-War (I asked for that because they were thick when I was in the water and I ignored the risk).

Go swimming and just be vigilant and you will have a good time. The odds of having a problem are very, very small.

Kindest regards,
Tom Ellison

September 23rd, 2003, 10:57 AM
I used to swim in the waters off of fl. and was such a nervous wreck about it! everytime I ran into seaweed, i just about screamed. finally, i gave up on it and stuck to the pool (my husband's humming of the theme from Jaws whilst I looked for my goggles didn't encourage me either...).

However, it is up to you. my coach advised against it as there are so many things in the water; however, there are many people that do it on a regular basis, so who knows?

I would suggest that you find a medium and try to swim with the lifeguards. If you ask nicely, I'm sure that'd be happy to accomodate or be able to advise you further!

Good luck!!

September 23rd, 2003, 01:30 PM
I grew up on a barrier island off the coast of Georgia and swam in the Atlantic Ocean while I was a child and teenager. I live about 2 hours from the Gulf now and swim in it frequently. In the entire time I lived on St. Simons no one was ever attacked by a shark in that area even though shark fishing was a very popular sport in and many very large sharks (and sting rays) were caught. And, I never heard of a person getting hurt by a sting ray. Some folks were stung by jelly fish. A jelly fish sting does hurt, but its not terrible, terrible. While jelly fish are present most of the time, there are usually more in the water at the end of the summer... August. There are a lot of cures for jelly fish stings we use to take a benedryl or two, pour household ammonia on the sting, and pile wet sand on the effected spot.

Sharks will follow schools of fish into shallow water at high tide. When the tide goes out they ocassionally get caught in tide pools or between the beach and a sandbar, so be very careful if you wade in these shallow, but inviting play areas. Don't swim in schools of fish; or if you are in an area with seals, stay away from the seals, sharks sometimes mistake humans for fish or seals.


PS--Dolphins are wild animals, treat them as such--who knows they may be having a bad day and your approach was just the last straw..lol...In all seriousness, while dolphins don't tend to attack humans, it has been known to happen.

September 23rd, 2003, 04:24 PM
i was fortunate enough to holiday in florida this year from england and i enjoyed swimming at Clearwater ,Naples and at the keys,i did notice jelly fish in certain parts,i guess its the same the whole world over,you take your chances.I was more worried about cutting myself and attracting sharks,we sometimes get sharks off the coast of england in summer down south..cornwall etc...great surfing there..;)

September 23rd, 2003, 06:21 PM
hey- i didn't know that there were sharks off the cornish coast (i've seen seals and my hubby's battled jellyfish there). What kind do they get? (i love sharks!)