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Seal Beach sting rays at large

September 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
With a hot weekend ahead, many people may be heading to the beach. Some official say that could mean more danger of being stung by sting rays who love the warm Southern Californian waters.When surfer Raffey Krikorian hits the water at Seal Beach, what lurks below the surface concerns him.

"I'm worried. I keep my feet up keep rubbed together. You want to shuffle your feet when you're in water," said Krikorian.

Surfers like Krikorian know all about the sting rays that hang out in the waters of Seal Beach. In fact, the beach has been nicknamed "Ray Bay." Hundreds of people are stung each here at the beach.

"This year we're looking close to last year, where we had close to 700 sting ray injuries last year that we treated here at the beach," said Seal Beach Lifeguard Nick Bolin.

Sting rays flock to the warm waters of Seal Beach.

"The San Gabriel river discharges at the north end of the beach and sting rays congregate in the warmer waters. So, near the river outlet we'll see a larger sting ray populated area,' said Bolin.

Surfing instructors constantly tell students what to do if they are a victim of a sting ray attack. Lifeguards say they are ready to help.

"We'll transport the sting ray patient from the beach back here to our headquarters ... fill up a hot bucket of water and just keep that hot bucket - that bucket of water - as hot as patient can stand it," said Bolin.

The best way to avoid being injured is to do the "sting ray shuffle" that Krikorian knows so well.

"You don't want to take steps into the water. You just kind of want to rub feet along bottom so you don't surprise them and step on them," said Krikorian.

Also, you can avoid the north end of the beach, where the San Gabriel River discharges. There is warmer water there, which, as lifeguards have warned, seems to attract the sting rays.

 

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