Sea Turtle nesting season is May 1st through October 31st.
The City of Atlantic Beach would like your help in protecting endangered Sea Turtles by keeping the beach as dark as possible during the nesting season. The voluntary elimination of beachfront artificial lighting between sunset and sunrise continues to produce excellent results during the nesting season. It's important to take extra precautions to ensure the safety of not only the females that come ashore to lay their eggs but their nests and hatchlings as well.
Hatching sea turtles are guided to the ocean by an instinct to travel away from the dark silhouettes of the dune vegetation and toward the brightest horizon - light from the sky reflecting off the ocean. Artificial lights near the beach can deter females from nesting and disorient hatchling sea turtles. Most hatchlings that wander inland will die of exhaustion, dehydration, or are eaten by predators.
Disorientation from a variety of artificial lighting sources cause thousands of hatchling deaths each year in Florida and is a significant sea turtle conservation problem. There are actions you can take to help save and protect these vulnerable marine animals and their critical nesting environments.
During nesting season:
- Avoid unnecessary lights, noise, and movement on the beach at night.
- Remove chairs, umbrellas, and other gear from beach.
- Avoid using flashlights or flash photography and do not shine any lights directly on sea turtles, this might cause her to abandon her nest.
- Level sandcastles, fill in holes and ruts that may pose potential hazards at night.
- Pick up all trash.
- Restrict or shield direct beachfront lighting.
- Fires on the beach are prohibited during nesting season.
- Honor the leash law. All dogs on the beach must be leashed and not allowed to disturb nesting turtles or hatchlings.
For more information, you can view the City's Sea Turtle Ordinance, check out the Sea Turtle Conservancy website or visit the Beaches Sea Turtle Patrol website.