Every year, thousands of hatchlings in Florida become disoriented by artificial light pollution, causing them to crawl towards the dune or A1A instead of the ocean. Sea turtle hatchlings instinctively travel towards the brightest horizon in contrast to a darker dune. A sky brightened by unshielded lighting can also cause females to avoid brighter areas. Most artificial lighting issues can be solved by shielding lights, using sea turtle-friendly lighting (red or amber colored) near the beach, turning off unnecessary lights at night, and not using flashlights on the beach. For more information on sea turtle lighting, visit https://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/wildlife/sea-turtle/lighting/ or http://seaturtlelighting.net/.
Marine debris has become an increasing problem in the last few decades. Items such as balloons, netting, and fishing line often wash ashore, potentially creating obstacles for nesting adult females and hatchlings. Proper recycling and disposal of these items can help not only sea turtles, but keep a healthy and clean beach environment for all to enjoy! We encourage everyone to reduce their use of plastics, particularly single-use plastics.
Sea turtles face many obstacles when on the beach. Adult sea turtles can easily become trapped under beach furniture and crossovers when nesting. Sandcastles and holes dug on the beach can also cause issues for sea turtles. Due to their small size, hatchlings are prone to falling in abandoned holes and sandcastles can become a complicated maze when trying to find their way to the water. Please remember to leave the beach the way you found it!