Swarms of jellyfish that have been appearing at Orange County beaches
since last week continue to sting beachgoers as lifeguards all along
Newport’s beaches report seeing “hundreds of thousands” of the
creatures floating near shore.
The threat of being stung was enough to keep some people out of
the water Monday afternoon. Instead of the throngs of people usually
seen swimming in the water on a hot day, the sandy shore was crowded
with cautious onlookers, searching the surf for jellyfish.
As of 6 p.m. Monday, lifeguards reported more than 400 people had
Lifeguard boats positioned offshore radioed into tower lifeguards
each time they spotted a large cluster of jellyfish headed toward the
The jellyfish are being identified as black jellyfish. Dennis
Kelly, professor of marine biology at Orange Coast College, said
recently he had never seen this species before.
Research conducted by the Newport Beach Lifeguards reported the
jellyfish come in large swarms, cycling every 10 years.
It’s the tentacles, not the body of the jellyfish, that people
should watch out for. The tentacles have stinging cells that shoot
poison into the victim, Kelly said. The jellyfish can still sting
even if they appear to be lifeless and washed up onto the beach.
Kelly described the sting as like being stung by a wasp.
Lifeguards can treat the sting with a squirt from a spray bottle of
As word of the jellyfish spread across the beach, beach goers made
their own choices about whether or not to go into the water.
Lifeguards did not evacuate people from the water.
“It’s not a life-safety issue,” Schulz said.
Some people did, however, see the jellyfish as reason enough not
to hang out in the water.
“We asked the lifeguard if we should go swimming,” said
15-year-old Samantha Evens, of Dallas. “He said, ‘Only if you want to
All the children in the Evens family, who are here visiting
relatives, have been stung by a jellyfish.
Hope Evens, 8, said the fear of a jellyfish sting was keeping her
from making sandcastles. Her sister, Olivia, 13, was stung on the
The jellyfish had been coming in waves throughout the day, said
Newport Beach Fire spokeswoman Jennifer Schulz. After a large influx,
swimmers would get out of the water; when no jellyfish were seen for
some time, people would venture back in, Schulz said.
“All of a sudden, they just kind of disappeared out of the water,”