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Tips for Keeping Sea Turtles Safe During Nesting Season

Another reason to love living in Southwest Florida: sea turtle nesting season runs from May 1-Oct. 31, 2022. During this time, loggerhead, green, hawksbill, leatherback, and Kemp’s Ridley turtles make their nests along Sarasota-Manatee beaches—including Longboat Key, where Cannons is located—and it’s incredibly important it is to keep them safe. Here are some tips for making sure our local waters stay sea-turtle friendly, courtesy of Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium.

  • Do not encourage a turtle to move while nesting or pick up hatchlings that have emerged and are heading for the water.
  • If you encounter a nesting turtle or hatchlings, remain quiet and observe from a distance.
  • Shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach from May through October.
  • Close drapes after dark and put beach furniture far back from the water.
  • Fill in holes that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water.
  • Don’t approach nesting turtles or hatchlings, make noise, or shine lights at turtles.
  • Avoid using flashlights or fishing lamps on the beach.
  • Don’t use fireworks on the beach.
  • Follow Coast Guard-approved safe boating guidelines and use vigilance to avoid striking sea turtles and other large marine life.
  • Be sure to stow trash and line when under way. Marine debris that accidentally blows overboard or out of a truck can become ingested by or entangled around marine life.
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to better see marine life in your path.

If you see a sick, injured or stranded sea turtle in Sarasota or Manatee county waters, contact Mote Marine Laboratory’s Stranding Investigations Program at 888-345-2335. Outside of Sarasota or Manatee counties, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 888-404-FWCC (3922).

Top image: Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium