The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recommends people follow these guidelines for sea turtle safety:
- DO turn off or adjust lighting along the beachfront to prevent nesting sea turtles from becoming disoriented and going toward the glow of light on land, instead of natural light reflecting on the surface of the water. Indoor lights should be turned off, with curtains closed after dark, and outdoor lighting should be turtle-friendly bulbs, installed on low fixtures and shielded from view at the shoreline.
- DON’T release sky lanterns or balloons. They create litter and harm wildlife.
- DON’T use flashlights or camera flashes on the beach at night. They can distract nesting sea turtles and cause them to return to the water.
- DO clear the way at the end of the day. Nesting female sea turtles can become trapped, confused or impeded by gear left on the beach at night. Remove items such as boats, tents, rafts and beach furniture and fill in holes or level sand castles before dusk. Holes trap turtles and can injure people. Call code enforcement to report unattended property or large holes on the beach.
City of Anna Maria code enforcement: 941-708-6130, ext. 139 or ext. 129.
City of Bradenton Beach code enforcement: 941-778-1005, ext. 280.
City of Holmes Beach code enforcement: 941-708-5800, ext. 247.
- Report sick, injured, entangled or dead sea turtles to the FWC Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-3922, #FWC or *FWC on a cellphone or text firstname.lastname@example.org.