While we are all excited to return to the beautiful beaches, social distancing precautions are not the only safety measure we need to keep in mind.
Navarre Beach’s sea turtle nesting season officially started May 1, meaning four species of these endangered reptiles will be coming ashore at night to lay their eggs. We all can do our part to ensure their nesting season is successful while still enjoying all the shore has to offer.
Our local Navarre Beach Sea Turtle Conservation Center offers an opportunity to learn about these wonderful creatures and even an up-close meeting with Sweet Pea, our resident juvenile sea turtle.
Sea turtles nest under very specific conditions. Light and sound at night can be disorienting to the turtles that spend nearly their entire lives under water. The Conservation Center has a few tips:
- Knock down sandcastles and fill holes, leaving the sand flat for mother turtles
- Take all items off the beach each night including beach toys, tents, umbrellas, chairs and especially trash, leaving any item after sunset is a violation of county ordinance
- Turn out lights or use red light at night to keep from disorienting turtles
- Educate others on how they can help protect turtles
- Do not disrupt nest sites or nesting turtles, it is against federal and state law
Fishermen taking advantage of the longest pier in the Gulf of Mexico can also help protect turtles through the responsible pier initiative. If a turtle gets hooked, don’t cut the line. Instead, call the number posted on the pier and rescuers will be there in minutes to assist.
Sea turtle nesting season also means a rare opportunity: the chance to see a nesting turtle.
If your family experiences this rare opportunity, be cautious not to disturb her.
If a nesting turtle is spotted, onlookers should turn off all lights, be quiet and remain a distance away from the turtle, out of her line of sight. This ensures she feels comfortable to continue nesting, helping carry on her species.
It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.