Swimming Danger in Westport: Why Purple Flags Could Keep You Safe
It wouldn't be summer on the SouthCoast if there weren't warnings about Portuguese man o' war in the water, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation has spotted some the first of the season.
Jellyfish stinging me has got to be up on my top five reasons I don't like to swim in the ocean list. The Portuguese man o 'war is definitely one sea creature you don't want stinging you, either.
According to the MassDCR twitter, these floating terrors – yes, they are actually called that – have been seen off the shore at Horseneck Beach in Westport and everyone hitting the surf right now should be aware.
In a release from June 29, the agency noted that they would be floating purple flags in the water to mark "the presence of dangerous marine animals."
And the Portuguese man o' war are definitely dangerous.
Their powerful and painful sting is enough to kill fish and they have been known to kill humans from time to time as well. They are not just dangerous in the water, either. The Portuguese man o' war can still sting you even after they have washed up on shore. In fact, if enough of these guys do wash up on shore, it could mean closing down the beach while they are cleaned up.
It certainly doesn't help that they are extremely creepy looking, too. To me, they appear to be floating brains with a dangerous stinging spinal cord. Of course they would show up during a streak of hot, humid days when all you want to do is hit the beach and go in the water.
So if that is your plan in Westport this week, make a note of the floating purple flags. They are going to tell you exactly where you don't want to swim at Horseneck Beach.