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Purple flags warn Clearwater beachgoers of dangerous marine life

Pinellas County

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – The city of Clearwater is sending a message sky-high. Purple flags are warning of dangerous marine life near the shoreline.

The purple flag on the lifeguard stand is a warning to all beachgoers there’s a dangerous animal nearby, but that’s not stopping many from wading in these waters.

Many beachgoers didn’t even know what the purple flag was, so, we turned to the pros.

“Purple flags are dangerous marine life, which are jellyfish,” Konrad Ciloko said, lifeguard supervisor on Clearwater Beach.

Ciloko said there’s a recent influx of moon jellyfish, so swimmers and shoreline walkers have to beware.

“Actually there was some people pointing out jellyfish along the shoreline just a few minutes ago,” said Elaine Jordan who was enjoying the beach with her friend Ruth.

Renee Bland said she saw several jellyfish is the water on Thursday.

“It was about the size of my hand, milky, white clear,” Bland said.

“It’s a little scary, I’m the kind of person when I get out too far I hear the music from jaws so I try to be aware of my surroundings,” Jordan said.

We asked her friend Ruth if she knew how to treat a jellyfish.

“Yes, someone’s got to pee on you!” said Ruth laughing. “That’s a myth,” Ciloko said.

Instead, Ciloko said head to the nearest lifeguard station for vinegar.

“It’s a very minor irritation to the skin. If it persisted, they can come to the lifeguard tower, we do have vinegar to treat it with,” Ciloko said.

Many we spoke with said despite the purple flag warning, they plan to jump back in.

“Yes, I will, I’ll just be very cautious and watch where I’m going,” Jordan said.

Ciloko said in addition to jellyfish, they’ve seen a recent uptick in stingray wounds, so they want to remind everyone to do the stingray shuffle.

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