Barrier Island Center: Sea Turtle Nesting Season
In addition to Florida being a great place to enjoy the sun and surf, Florida’s beaches are important nesting areas for sea turtles, and the sand dunes are home to many unique plants and animals.
During a visit, please help protect Florida’s sea turtles, other wildlife and the coastal habitats upon which they depend. The sea turtle nesting season in Florida runs from March through October on the Atlantic coast, and from May through October on the Gulf coast. During the sea turtle season, please remember a few simple things to help protect these magnificent creatures and their habitat:
- It is against the law to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or their nests. Sea turtles are protected by both the Federal Endangered Species Act and the Florida Marine Protection Act.
- If you see an injured or dead sea turtle, call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC from your cell phone. Please be prepared to answer the following questions: What is the exact location of the animal? Is the turtle alive or dead? What is the approximate size of the turtle? Is the turtle marked with spray paint? (This indicates that the turtle has been documented.) What is the location of the closest access point to the turtle?
- Avoid going to the beach at night. If you must be on the beach at night, limit your walking and do not use flashlights or flash photography. 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.
- Turn off outside patio lights and shield indoor lights from shining directly onto the beach by closing the drapes at night. Lights disturb nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. Many coastal counties and cities have lighting ordinances that help reduce beachfront lighting. Please make sure your beachfront lights are in compliance with the law.
- While enjoying the beautiful beaches during the day, avoid disturbing marked sea turtle nests, and please take your trash with when you leave the beach.
- When crossing a dune, please use designated cross overs and walk ways. Do not climb over the dunes or disturb the dune vegetation.
- List of organizations that have been permitted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to conduct public turtle watches.