If you’re staying on Navarre Beach, you’ll probably notice that bright lights are frowned upon along the water – even flashlights. There’s a reason.
Santa Rosa County ordinance requires that you turn down the lights to turn up the chances of sea turtle survival.
May through October is nesting season locally, which means that turtles make their way out of the Gulf of Mexico to lay eggs on the sands. Crews of volunteers keep a close eye on the beaches, looking for signs that a new nest has been created. They mark it with ribbon and signs warning beachgoers away from that area. Once a new nest has been found, they’ll continue to check it until it hatches.
Bright lights can distract and disorient turtles, both the adults and the tiny hatchlings who must be able to find their way to the water’s edge. All five species of sea turtles that nest in Florida are protected under state and federal statutes.
So if you’re walking the beach at night, put red filters on your phone flashlights (which you can pick up at Navarre Properites Office or the Navarre Beach Visitor’s Center) to dim them or, even better, let the moonlight be your guide.
If you ever see a turtle – large or small – on the sand, keep your distance. Please don’t use flash photography to capture the moment. Step away from the area and let nature do its thing.
Here are the turtles you’re sharing area waters and sands with: