In Florida and other states where sea turtles nest, turtle watches are conducted by trained and permitted individuals. The goal is to educate people about sea turtles through direct contact, without disturbing the turtles.
If you are interested in going on a sea turtle watch, visit Sea Turtle Watches at the Barrier Island Center to learn more.
Sometimes people encounter sea turtles on their own while walking on the beach at night during nesting season. If this happens to you, here are some simple rules to follow:
* Do not walk on the beach with a flashlight or shine a light in
the sea turtle's face. The light may cause the female to abort the nesting
process, or other sea turtles nearby may be discouraged from nesting if
there are lights on the beach.
* Do not take pictures using flashes. This high-intensity light can
be even more disturbing than the flashlights.
* Stay clear and out of sight of the turtle until she begins laying
eggs, otherwise you may scare her back into the sea.
* For your safety, stay away from the turtle's head. Sea turtles,
especially loggerheads, have very strong jaws and can harm you if provoked.
* Do not handle the eggs or put any foreign objects into the nest.
You can introduce bacteria or injure the eggs.
* Do not handle or ride the sea turtle. In addition to being illegal,
you may injure the turtle or cause her to leave without finishing nesting.
* Do not disturb tracks left by turtles. Researchers sometimes use
the tracks to identify the type of turtles that nested and to find and
mark the nests.
* Do enjoy the experience, and remember it for the rest of your life.