How You Can Help
help to prevent sea turtles from stranding or injury
If you have found an injured, deceased, or harassed Sea Turtle, or to report someone
disturbing a sea turtle nest:
Call: 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) - Cellular phone *FWC or #FWC
If you ever happen to come in contact with an injured or stranded sea turtle please call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) immediately at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or you may dial *FWC or #FWC on your mobile phone. Once you have contacted FWC you are also welcome to call the center at our 24 hour Emergency Response number (561-603-0211) if you are in need of assistance with the rescue.
If a sick or injured turtle is observed at sea, please contact FWC directly and follow their instructions. Do not attempt to rescue the injured sea turtle as this could result in further injury to the animal or the rescuer.
If you are on a pier and a turtle is caught on a hook, after contacting FWC or LMC, you should gently reel in slack line and attempt to keep the turtle at the surface without pulling its weight above the water. It is preferred to use a pier net and slide it under the turtle, again supporting the turtle and keeping it at the surface without bringing the turtle’s weight above the surface. Then slowly move the animal to the beach and out of the surf zone, it is ideal to have Ocean Rescue or other assistance on the beach to help with this step. Try to keep the turtle in the shade or place a wet towel over the shell to keep the turtle cool. Lastly, you may trim excess fishing line, but be sure to leave at least 1-2 feet of extra line with the turtle. Please remember, Do not attempt to remove any hooks or other gear.
Ways to Protect Sea Turtles
Beach Lighting – During nesting season (March 1 through October 31), minimize beachfront lighting by turning off lights and by shielding or redirecting lights. If you live on the beach, please close your blinds and drapes to prevent indoor lighting from reaching the beach during this time as well.
Beach Walking at Night – If walking along the beach at night please avoid using flashlights. Flash photography at night during nesting season is in violation of the law as the light may deter nesting.
Boating - Use caution, stay alert and avoid sea turtles. A great way to avoid sea turtles is by wearing protective eyewear that uses polarized lenses. Be aware that sea turtles often congregate along the reefs and adjacent to the beach during the nesting season. Propeller and collision impacts can result in serious injury and death.
Monofilament - Monofilament also known as fishing line is a problem that many sea turtles face. If you see a sea turtle that is wrapped in monofilament do not try to remove it, contact FWC at the number above. Please dispose of monofilament properly by placing it in monofilament recycling bins and at drop-off locations.
Nesting Sea Turtles – If you come across a sea turtle on the beach at night, remain quiet, still, and at a distance, otherwise she may become frightened and return to the ocean without nesting. Do not approach a nesting sea turtle. If you come across turtle tracks please avoid stepping in them as research teams use them to identify the nesting species and to find and mark the nests for protection.
Plastic Bags, Balloons and Other Garbage - Don’t release balloons or allow plastic bags to fly or float away. Sea turtles try to eat these items and often mistake them for food. When trash is swallowed by a sea turtle it could cause deadly injuries.
If you would like more information regarding any of the topics above please visit the following websites:
US Fish and Wildlife: http://www.fws.gov/northflorida/SeaTurtles/Turtle%20Factsheets/you-can-help.htm
Monofilament Recovery and Recycling Program: http://www.myfwc.com/mrrp/