Slow down for sea turtles
Editor’s note: This is part of a series for #SeaTurtleWeek highlighting some of the threats faced by sea turtles today. A different threat will be highlighted each day. For more information on other Sea Turtle Week activities offered by the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, please go to our website or visit us on Facebook and Instagram.
Sunshine, sand, and ocean waves draw visitors and residents alike to Florida’s beaches every day. Sea turtles are impacted by tourism and coastal development, and unfortunately one of the most common ways is a vessel strike.
Here at the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, our volunteers operate an emergency hotline as well as an emergency response team for injured and debilitated sea turtles in Brevard County. Statewide, vessel strikes are the No. 1 cause for strandings among sea turtles and account for 40 percent of such events.
To keep sea turtles and other marine life safe while boating, please follow these guidelines:
- Designate a spotter when boating to keep an eye out for marine animals.
- Wear polarized sunglasses to reduce glare on the water’s surface and improve your ability to see sea turtles and other marine animals.
- Many incidents occur near passes and inlets. Be especially aware and go slowly in these areas.
- If you see a sea turtle or marine mammal, place the boat in neutral and allow the animal to exit the area before continuing.
- Follow channel markers and posted speed limits, especially slow speed signs and no wake zones.
- During sea turtle nesting season, turtles may be mating just offshore of beaches. NOAA recommends staying at least one kilometer offshore of beaches during sea turtle nesting season.
- Avoid boating over seagrass beds and shallow areas.
If you see a dead or injured sea turtle, please call the Sea Turtle Preservation Society emergency response hotline at 321-206-0646.