This is a great website! You have done a good job.
I wanted to know how safe it is to swim at the Bermuda beaches? I read that tons of Portuguese Man of War visit Bermuda waters in the summer especially in August. Is this true? What is your opinion?
Reply from Raj:
Hi, Portuguese man of war are sometimes visible in Bermuda waters or near the shore mostly during spring and early summer. However, you don't see tons of them, but occasionally. Due to storms or strong winds, sometimes they get washed up on the shore. These marine creatures generally like to be in the mid sea where they prey on fish. I would advise you to stay away if you happen to spot one.
Their stings can be very painful and the venom quite poisonous. Having said that, I would also like to say that Bermuda beaches are generally very safe. Only in rare occasions will you find visitors having spotted or complaining about such man of the war.
Portuguese Man of War at John Smith's Bay Beach
Photo: Peter Burka, flickr, cc by-sa 2.0
For the readers
Portuguese Man of War is a Jellyfish like marine creature that has a blue/purple color bladder that floats above the water surface. From far, it looks colorful and quite attractive. However, be careful! They have polyps and long tentacles that hang below the water surface. These tentacles have poisonous venom and a sting can be extremely painful and sometimes deadly. In many cases, the sting results in some form of allergic reactions.
Due to storm or heavy winds, sometimes they get washed up on the beaches. And on the beach they might appear to be dead, but in most cases they are not.
If stung, the first action is to avoid more stings that may further complicate the matter. Gently remove the barbs with some plastics like door key or credit cards. Apply salt water and NOT fresh water or Vinegar. If itching persists, apply 1% hydrocortisone ointment 4 times a day, and 1-2 25 mg diphen-hydramine every 6 hours. For serious problems like chest pain or breathing difficulty, you should not wait and immediately rush for proper medical treatment.
By the way, if you happen to spot one Portuguese Man of War, there are like to be more of them around the same area.
Check out Bermuda Beach Safety to know all about them plus the other risks that exist in Bermuda beaches, and how to avoid them.