Is swimming with stingrays safe?

Swimming with stingrays is a popular vacation activity in the Caribbean. In addition to Antigua and Grand Turk, Grand Cayman’s Stingray City is a very popular tourist attraction. However, some tourists most be reconsidering after the death of Steve Irwin, the famous ‘Crocodile Hunter’. Irwin died after he was stung by a stingray.

Stingray swims are still deemed safe by most experts and all the cruise lines:

Carnival said “The death of Steve Irwin was a terrible tragedy. Experts agree that it was an extremely unusual occurrence involving a particularly large breed of stingray found in Australia. To be stung by a stingray is rare and, despite the tens of thousands of our guests who have participated in the stingray shore excursions offered by our tour operator partners, there has never been a fatality or serious injury.”

Disney offers stingray excursions at their private island Castaway where they manicure stingrays’ barbs to make the experience even safer for guests. I’m not sure how I feel about this; I hope these “manicures” aren’t painful for the animals.

Holland America said that there has never been a serious injury on one of their stingray tours.

Royal Caribbean International’s Lyan Sierra-Caro says “I think everyone understands that this was a rare circumstance. The stingrays in the Caribbean are much different then the kind found in Australia. Also, the stingrays that our guests usually see are used to being around humans and even fed by them.”

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