July 4th Sea Turtle Safety
With great celebration of the Fourth of July comes great concern for sea turtles. Although nesting sea turtles and hatchlings face challenges daily, July 4th weekend can present additional challenges. The influx of visitors and beach traffic poses an increased threat to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings. Reviewing the do’s and don’ts of sea turtle nesting season and informing visitors of proper July 4th behavior is vital to ensure sea turtles’ safety.
Our beaches are not home to ninja turtles, therefore it’s essential to remove all canopies, umbrellas, beach chairs, toys, and all other obstacles from the beaches at night. These objects can hinder sea turtles from making a safe journey back into the sea. Hatchlings are prepared to make a slow crawl into the deep blue sea, not compete on American Ninja Turtle Warrior. Save them some energy and deconstruct your sandy metropolis.
Unlike Nemo, sea turtles don’t usually have the same safe rescue ending when they “touch the butt.” Being a safe and cautious boater can save sea turtles from ever booking a night’s stay at Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC). Follow safe boating guidelines and look out for sea turtles or hatchlings who may be nestled in the sargassum line. Downloading the United States Coast Guard App can assist visitors who are unfamiliar with local regulations.
Contain your trash in a secure location on the beach and on your boat. Loose trash blows off of boats and away from beach tents into the ocean. Sea turtles often mistake trash for the food they eat, causing them to become injured or ill. Start a “no trash left behind” movement and go the extra mile to pick up the scattered litter from other 4th of July beachgoers.
Save the selfies! The light from any artificial light source, including your cell phone, can be spotted down the beach at night by nesting and hatching sea turtles. Artificial light confuses the sea turtles misguiding them away from their moon-lit destined paths.
Everyone can enjoy fun in the sun during the July 4th weekend while respecting marine life. We share the ocean waters and beaches with all marine life so keep the renowned kindergarten mantra in mind of “sharing is caring.”