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Do Wetsuits Protect From Stingrays?

Stingray - Do Wetsuits Protect From Stingrays

Wetsuits are designed to keep you warm in water when diving, snorkelling or if you are partaking in any other water sport, but do wetsuits protect from stingrays?

A wetsuit will not protect you from the barb of a stingray, as it will go straight through the neoprene of the wetsuit and into your skin. But stingrays very rarely attack people unless they are provoked or threatened, so wetsuit or no wetsuit, you are unlikely to be attacked by a stingray.

The most famous stingray attack was Steve Irwin who was stabbed in the heart by a stingray, which was as a result of him getting too close to the ray.

It was on the 4 September 2006 when Australian zookeeper and TV personality Steve Irwin died after being pierced in the chest by a stingray barb while filming in the Great Barrier Reef. The stingray barb penetrated into his thoracic wall which caused massive trauma and his death.

I recall diving with someone in the Caribbean who was terrified of stingrays, and even more so than diving with sharks. I reassured her that stingrays are shy and peaceful creatures and they don’t present a threat to divers, unless threatened or if stepped on by accident.

If you are asking about wetsuits and stingray attacks because you are a scuba diver, you may like to know that the best way to dive anywhere in the world is by a scuba diving liveaboard. You can check the latest and best deals on liveaboards using the following window:

The reality about stingrays

Most accidents with stingrays occur in shallow waters where water-users walk in areas where stingrays might be feeding. Unlike the fatal injury to Steve Irwin, injuries from stingrays are rarely fatal, but they are painful and can get infected.

Injuries from stingrays result from contact with their serrated barb found on the end of their tail. Stingray’s are venomous too, which means in most cases stingray wounds will require medical attention.

Also, the serrated barb can easily cut through neoprene (i.e. wetsuit material) and cause deep lacerations or puncture wounds to the skin.

How do you prevent a stingray attack?

The best way to prevent a stingray attack is to keep a safe distance from them and never provoke an attack. Sting rays are not aggressive creatures and will only attack you if they feel threatened, which means it is totally safe to dive with stingrays as long as you don’t touch of threaten them.

What to do if you see a stingray while diving?

If you see a stingray whilst diving stay out of range from the stingray’s striking zone and do not swim directly over it in close proximity. Observe the stingray from a safe distance and allow the stingray to swim away and don’t threaten or provoke it in any way.

What to do if you see a stingray while snorkeling?

If you see a stingray while snorkeling, especially in shallow water, stay out of range from the stingray’s striking zone. Observe the stingray from a safe distance and don’t swim directly over it in close proximity and allow the stingray to swim away and don’t threaten or provoke it in any way.

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Is it safe to swim around stingrays?

It is safe to swim near stingrays as long as you do not swim directly over the top of them in striking distance, which is when you can be attacked with their barb and is what happened to Steve Irwin and how he died. If in doubt don’t get too close to a stingray and stay safe.

How can you swim with stingrays and not get stung?

You can swim with stingrays and not get stung by not swimming directly above them and if you don’t provoke or threaten the stingray. If you are entering the water prior to swimming with stingrays present, use the “stingray shuffle” by keeping your feet on the bottom to avoid stepping on a stingray.

Can you step on a Stingray and not get stung?

You might be able to step on a Stingray and not get stung if they are startled and swim away instead of using their barb as a defence. But you are best to avoid stepping on stingrays in the first place, and the best way to avoid stepping on a stingray is by using the stingray shuffle.

You may also want to read this article; do wetsuits protects against jellyfish stings too.

What is the stingray shuffle?

The stingray shuffle means you shuffle your feet really low to the ground almost as if your feet are under the surface of the sand. This will alert the stingrays that you are coming and will give them a chance to swim away, which means they are not going to sting you if they’ve already scatted away.

Why use the stingray shuffle?

The reason you use the stingray shuffle is because stingrays hide just below the surface of the sand, and by shuffling your feet in this way will alert the stingrays to your presence, thus allowing them to swim away beforehand so you don’t step on the stingray and you avoid being stung.

The following video explains the stingray shuffle.

https://youtu.be/0AWBjIM2Ec0
Stingray Shuffle

I hope you enjoyed this article about do wetsuits protect from stingrays

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your adventures of diving and snorkeling, in the comments below. Please also share your photos. Either from your underwater cameras or videos from your waterproof go-pro’s!

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions either about snorkeling or scuba diving (or specifically about do wetsuits protect from stingrays), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about scuba and scuba diving safety tips (and on snorkeling too) for you to read and learn about this fabulous sport.

Do Wetsuits Protect From Stingrays?

Article written by Russell Bowyer who has been a scuba diver since diving on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia in 1989. After his first dive he trained as a BSAC diver in the UK. He attained his Diver Leader certification with BSAC. He then went on to become a scuba diving instructor, teaching others how to dive and was voted as Diving Officer and Treasurer for the Saffron Walden BSAC club too. Russell has dived all over the world, including the UK, on liveaboards in the Red Sea, the Caribbean, South Africa and the USA. Russell is experienced in all dive types, including drift diving, deep dives that involved decompression stops and recreational dives too.

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