Sea Turtle Nesting Season May 1 - October 31

Our mission at Marine Discovery Center is to protect and restore Florida’s coastal ecosystems, which are home to an incredible diversity of wildlife – including sea turtles!

While turtles are often seen popping their heads up for a breath offshore or even in the Indian River Lagoon, this time of year it’s all about the beaches! May through October our shorelines become the nesting grounds for several species of sea turtles, all of which are threatened or endangered – making the work of conservation organizations like MDC that much more critical.

What can you do to help protect our nesting sea turtles? Here are some great tips, courtesy of the Volusia County

• Remove tents, volleyball nets, and other beach furniture and fill large holes before you leave the beach.

• Don’t disturb a turtle crawling to or from the ocean or laying eggs. Watch from a distance of at least 30 feet away, keep lights and flash photography off, and speak quietly.

• Never shine lights on sea turtle nests, hatchlings, or adult turtles. Flashlight and lantern use is discouraged; however, a flashlight with a red LED bulb or a light covered with a red filter is less disruptive to sea turtles.

• Avoid flash photography on the beach at night, and never discharge fireworks, which are prohibited on the beach.

• Ensure lights from your property or rental space are not visible from the beach by turning them off or shutting your curtains at night. Lights can discourage nesting adults and disorient hatchlings ability to find the sea.

• Avoid walking or cycling over marked nests or unmarked turtle tracks.

• Do not disturb markers or protective screening over turtle nests. These nests are being studied and protected.

• It is fun to dig on the beach and make sandcastles. However, holes and sandcastles left on the beach overnight can become a danger to humans and sea turtles. Fill in holes and knock down sandcastles before you leave the beach.

• Use designated beach access points in order to avoid walking on vegetated beach dunes.

• Don’t disturb nesting and resting shore birds.

• Don’t litter. Cigarette butts, fishing line and other trash can harm the animals and birds along the beach and is unsightly for beach visitors.

• Please recycle paper and plastics in the yellow recycling bins.

• If you see a sick, injured, or dead sea turtle or other animal that needs help, DO NOT attempt to put it in the water or capture it. Please contact the nearest Beach Safety officer or lifeguard or call 1-888-404-FWCC.

Visit the Volusia County website for more infomation on how you can protect sea turtles and other coastal creatures.