Recently, Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC) was awarded a grant from the Florida Sea Turtle Grants Program for a Voluntary Speed Reduction Zone Project (VSRZ). Loggerhead Marinelife Center, in collaboration with the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research at the University of Florida and the FrameWorks Institute, aims to decrease harmful interactions between sea turtles and boaters through the development of a Voluntary Speed Reduction Zone (VSRZ) in offshore waters from Jupiter Inlet to Lake Worth Inlet, Palm Beach County, FL.
Each year, tens of thousands of sea turtles migrate to Palm Beach County to lay their eggs where more than 40,000 vessels are registered in the county (FLHSMV 2017). As such, vessel strikes have become a significant threat to sea turtles in the area. Approximately 20% of all reported stranded turtles in Florida have evidence of previous vessel strikes (Foley et al. 2017).
Loggerhead Marinelife Center is working with local boaters to encourage them to travel at reduced boat speeds during nesting season to reduce boat strike injuries on sea turtles in Palm Beach County. At Loggerhead Marinelife Center, over 90% of all boat strike injuries seen at our sea turtle hospital are fatal. This zone will be established in nearshore waters from Jupiter Inlet to Lake Worth Inlet, an area known to be densely nested in the summer months.