Between March 1 and October 31, sea turtles nest on the 9.5-mile stretch of beach that Loggerhead Marinelife Center monitors, which spans from the northern Palm Beach County line to the northern boundary of John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season Do’s
- Keeping your distance: Never approach or touch a nesting sea turtle. Keep your distance, always stay out of the line of sight, remain quiet and keep all lights off (including flash photography and cell phones). Touching, prodding or shining lights may cause her to not lay eggs or disturb her and affect how well she covers and camouflages the nest.
- Letting hatchlings emerge: If you see hatchlings on the beach, allow them to crawl to the ocean on their own. Do not remove or dig hatchlings out of a nest. Removing sand above the nest will make it more difficult for the hatchlings to emerge.
- Turning off lights: Keep lights off at your house while not in use and close your blinds at night to avoid adding to the overall glow. Sea turtles crawl towards the brightest horizon, and artificial lighting can cause them to disorient.
- Filling in your holes: Fill in all holes and knock over sand castles so that nesting turtles and hatchlings do not fall into them and are not hindered as they crawl on the beach.
Sea Turtle Nesting Season Don’ts
- Leaving it behind: Remove obstacles such as beach chairs, tables, water-sport equipment and umbrellas before dark. On local beaches, there is one sea turtle nest on average for every three to four feet of beach. It’s critical to note that the majority of the nests laid on local beaches are left to incubate without being physically marked with a stake. So even if there isn’t a stake nearby, it doesn’t mean a nest isn’t incubating below the surface. Therefore, there are high chances of puncturing sea turtle nests or eggs when umbrellas are staked into the ground.
- Digging holes: Avoid digging holes or using shovels in order to not interfere with incubating sea turtle nests.
- Being a litterbug: Do not leave any trash behind. Trash can hinder nesting and hatchling turtles from crawling to and from the beach. Also, trash may eventually make its way into the ocean where hatchlings might mistake micro plastics for food.
- Releasing balloons: Don’t release balloons, they travel far distances and can be eaten by sea turtles and other marine organisms.
- Hosting bonfires: Bonfires may be accidentally situated on a nesting site and are dangerous for local wildlife and beach-goers. Also, hatchlings can often be lured or disoriented by light emitted by fires.