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Stingrays pack a punch -- and a bite -- at Seal Beach

July 17, 2010 |  2:44 pm


The waters off Seal Beach are so appealing to the sea creatures that an average of 400 people a year are stung, making it the stingray capital of America.

According to a local marine biologist, one-third of stingray-related injuries reported nationwide happened in these waters. And the number of human-ray altercations is going up. Last year Seal Beach lifeguards treated about 500.

With more than 200 stings so far this year — 100 in the last 30 days — lifeguards are on alert, warning families, kite-boarders and beginning surfers to be cautious in an area they call the "hot zone."

Years ago, the strand earned the nickname Ray Bay for the thousands of rays it draws to its shallow waters warmed by a nearby power plant.

Hot summer days when the tide is low and the surf is calm are ideal conditions for stings, putting waders, splashers, swimmers and surfers in the same compact neighborhood as the rays.

Read the full story here.

--Tony Barboza 

Photo: Seal Beach Marine Safety Officer Nick Bolin, left, and lifeguard Eric Steele, right, tend to stingray victim Moe Dixson, 25, of North Hollywood. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times / July 15, 2010)