Nigella's Cove - Beach Etiquette - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Nigella's Cove - Beach Etiquette

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Explore your world with Birch Aquarium at Scripps Executive Director Nigella Hillgarth -- Beach Etiquette

Winter is over, which means it's time to head to the beach for many San Diegans. But the beach is also a living ecosystem upon which many animals and plants depend. Here are 8 ways you can ensure a wonderful, safe day at the beach without harming the marine environment.

1. Be sure to stay within the designated swimming area and within the sight of a lifeguard, as many beaches have areas set aside to separate swimmers from surfers.

2. Check the surf conditions before you enter the water. Waves and currents make the beach exciting, but they can be dangerous. Warning flags are usually posted near lifeguard towers.

3. Don't leave trash behind. And if you have an extra bag, leave the beach better than you found it! Many of our trash items are found in the stomachs of marine animals, so cleaning up the beach keeps everyone healthier. Throw out trash or recycle at home if you don't see a bin on the beach.

4. Follow marked paths to the beach, rather than walking across sensitive sand dunes and other natural areas that provide food and shelter for wildlife.

5. Do the stingray shuffle! Stingrays like to hang out in shallow water on the sandy bottom, where they can be easily missed. Shuffle your feet back and forth on the ocean floor to warn the rays that you're coming. They'll move.

6. There are several species of jellyfish native to San Diego, and other types that appear in our waters occasionally. These delicate marine animals have stinging cells on their long tentacles. If you brush up against them while swimming, you can be stung. If you are stung, remove any remaining tentacles by scraping a credit card along your skin and use vinegar to neutralize the toxin. Be careful not to touch tentacles from dead jellyfish because you could still be stung! Seek medical attention from a lifeguard.

7. Sure, there are sharks living off San Diego's coast, but most species are unlikely to harm humans. Swim away if you spot one in the water, and never provoke or harass a shark, even a small one.

8. Don't remove ocean creatures. Chances are you'll encounter live snails, crabs, fish, starfish or other animals living at the beach. Take time to observe them, but make sure not to move them from their home.

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