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Florida Keys Diving Hazards

Scuba Diving in the Florida Keys isn't particularly more difficult or dangerous than anywhere else you might dive, but a general knowledge of what to watch out for will make your dive vacation that much better, if you can avoid the couple of hazards by reading about them first. You might be thinking sharks are at the top of the list, but in fact sharks don't pose a major risk for divers in the Florida Keys area. Barracuda also comes to mind when you consider the dangers of diving, but the barracuda around dive spots in the Florida Keys are old hands at getting along with tourist divers. They hover around popular dive sites because some divers hand feed them little bait fish. Just stay calm and explore the reef, and the barracuda will not harm you. Below are some the elements of diving in the Keys that you do have to keep in mind:

Things to watch out for While Scuba Diving in the Florida Keys

  • Coral Cuts
    Touching the coral is prohibited for environmental reasons, in other words for protection of the coral reef, but it's also because it poses a danger to divers as well. You can get cut on the coral, and coral has organisms in it that will almost always cause your cut to become infected. If you get cut, clean it immediately and apply antibiotic ointment to it.
  • Sea Lice
    The culprit here are jellyfish. The larvae of thimble jellyfish to be exact. You can't see 'em, but you'll know they're there if they get next to your skin: if they get under your bathing suit, you'll feel itching, swelling, and burning sensations. Treat like you would treat a lots of common skin irritants: just put antihistamine cream on it to relieve the symptoms. Since you can't see these microscopic organisms, all you can do know when and where they exist: Springtime and at the surface, so dive down quickly.
  • Stingrays
    Surprise surprise, a stingray can sting! Seriously, they rarely will come after you, but divers on the bottom of the ocean can sometimes step on them and get stung by the barb at the base of the stingray's tail, which will inject a poison that hurts like heck. Soak your bite in warm water to wear down the poison.
  • Fire Coral
    Again, you're not supposed to touch any coral, but you reallydo not want to touch Fire Coral. You won't get cut, but you will feel burning and later incredible itching. Don't worry, it goes away in a couple of days, but that could be the rest of your vacation. There are two varieties of fire coral: leafy and encrusting. They both have a yellow-brown color with white tips. It can wrap itself around other structures, like wrecks and other corals, both of which are places where divers are likely to go.

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