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Sea Turtle Nesting Season

Post Date:02/27/2019 11:53 AM

Turtle Hatchling on the Beach

Sea Turtle Nesting Season 

Every year beginning in March and running through October, sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs on Palm Beach County's beaches. Sea turtle hatchlings are guided to the ocean by an instinct to travel toward the sky’s reflection off the ocean. Unfortunately, artificial lighting visible from the beach often causes sea turtles to become disoriented, preventing them from finding their way back to the ocean.

Why Lighting is Important

Sea Turtle LightsSea turtles are less disturbed by long wavelengths of light, such as yellow, amber or red. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission outlines where to buy long wavelength, wildlife certified bulbs. Only these type of bulbs should be used outdoors within 600 feet of the beach’s high tide line.

Shielding the bulb minimizes “point source” light and directs the light downwards, preventing light sources from being seen from the beach, while still providing sufficient lighting for people. The City adopted Ordinance 11-14 in May 2014  setting requirements for new and existing beachfront lighting and inspections are conducted by the City’s Code Enforcement staff to confirm compliance. 

Here’s How You Can Help

We need your cooperation in keeping the beach dark, safe and free of obstacles for turtles and their hatchlings. It is critical that beach property owners:

  • Remove your items from the beach nightly, including chairs, cabanas, sand toys and trash.  Please be careful to avoid dune vegetation.
  • Ensure that no direct or indirect light is visible from the beach, this includes drawing curtains closed at night to shield bright indoor lights.
  • If you encounter a nesting turtle, keep lights off, remain still and keep your distance.
  • Keep your light fixtures low—the lower the light fixture, the less likely it will be seen from the beach. Proper light placement ensures that light illuminates the places where it is most needed.

 Additional Information

Additional information about sea turtle conservation and lighting can be found at:

Sea Turtle Conservancy

Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission


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