Are The Stingrays Dangerous?
Running a boat charter company as I do, it’s pretty common for people to ask about Stingray City accidents and how dangerous it is to swim with wild stingrays in Grand Cayman.
We’ve all heard of and mourn the loss of the legendary Steve Irwin to a stingray barb that tragically pierced his heart. Growing up in Australia and surfing daily from a young age wild stingrays were one of the major dangers we faced.
Stingrays will hide in the sand in shallow water making it easy for us to accidentally step on them while entering or exiting the surf. Scaring a wild stingray like this would likely earn us a painful barb in the ankle.
Until I moved to Grand Cayman you would not have caught me intentionally within 50’ of any wild stingray. Period.
But the unique stingrays of the Cayman Islands changed all this…
Stingrays never attack humans (of any size) unless provoked as they do not consider us as prey. A stingray’s danger to humans is defensive, not offensive like a jellyfish or a bear. They literally couldn’t eat you if they tried as they have tiny flat teeth and their mouth is far too small anyway.
Its important to understand the stingray barb is only used when the stingray feels it’s in grave danger.
This is what makes Stingray City Grand Cayman unique… our local stingray residents have learned humans are not dangerous and no longer consider us predators.
These gentle stingrays have learned this over generations and are so used to us now they allow us to handle them, pet them and will pose for photos all day long with visitors from all over the world in exchange for some tasty squid to eat.
Please keep in mind stingrays are territorial so the above only applies to Stingray City Sandbar and dive site where the families of stingrays know us. If you see a ‘ray on Seven Mile Beach keep your distance as it likely has no relation to the unique friendly stingrays above. Be cautious of a wild stingray as, like any wild animal, it will assume you are a predator and defend itself if you act in a way it considers threatening. Don’t surprise it, don’t swim up to it or touch it… watch from a distance and remember its not going to swim over and sting you either.
A little understanding goes a long way so I hope you see why Grand Cayman’s stingrays are not so dangerous but are gentle creatures who are very forgiving of swimmers of all abilities.
I’m so confident in the benign behaviour of our beautiful Stingrays that I have been taking my own children to Stingray City since they could barely swim… and kids learn to swim early when they grow up on a tropical island…
The experience of feeding, holding and seeing the stingrays fly through the water (and they do fly!) is truly magical.
If you’d like to meet our magical stingray friends come join me as I enjoy taking you there as much as playing with the stingrays themselves:)