Sunset Beach Turtle Watch
The Sunset Beach Turtle Watch Program (SBTWP) is a private, nonprofit program that solicits volunteers to help monitor turtle nesting at Sunset Beach, North Carolina.
Members of the SBTWP hold permits from the Non-Game and Endangered Wildlife Section of the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission to monitor nest sites, strandings and hatchings. Volunteers record nesting sites, move nests that may be threatened, record turtle hatches and help hatchlings reach the ocean safely. Loggerhead sea turtles are the most common visitors to North Carolina beaches. Although their population is more stable than that of other sea turtles, the loggerhead is still a “Threatened” species. This status grants protection under the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).
What can I do to save our Sea Turtles?
Avoid disturbing a turtle that is crawling to or from the ocean. DO NOT crowd or attempt to ride a turtle. DO NOT shine lights or take flash photos of the turtle. Stay off the turtle tracks. Sit quietly in the dark, at a distance, to watch. It is against the law to disturb her and/or her nest in any way.
Stay clear of turtle nests. Avoid walking or riding vehicles near the nest. Stay off the turtle tracks. DO NOT disturb markers or screens that may be protecting the nests. Markers usually consist of wooden stakes outlined with bright tape or ribbon. Sea Turtle – Loggerhead
LIGHTS OFF. Lights disturb nesting turtles and hatchlings. Please TURN OFF your outdoor lights and shield indoor lights from shining on the beach at night. We ask the cooperation of all beach front house renters, owners, businesses, and hotels to turn off beach lights during nesting and hatching season from May to late October. Allow hatchlings to make their way safely to the ocean. DO NOT touch the hatchlings. Keeping hatchlings is illegal.
Day at the Beach
DO NOT LITTER. Pick up and place ALL trash in barrels. Fill in sand castles, trenches, and holes before leaving the beach. DO NOT leave your canopy, umbrella, or chairs on the beach overnight. These all present dangers and can cause death to turtles and their hatchlings. Avoid using flashlights, fireworks, or flash photography while on the beach at night. It is against Federal and State Laws to touch or disturb nesting sea turtles, hatchlings, or nests. If you are a SMOKER, to avoid cigarette littering on our beach, please take a portable ashtray/butt tin with you. Don’t forget a butt bin can be as simple as an empty film canister or breath mint container! Take time to cleanup our beaches…just 30 minutes!!!
Report turtle tracks, nest hatchlings, sea turtle activity, injuries or strandings to: Sunset Beach Turtle Watch – 910-579-5862 or Sunset Beach Police Department – 910-579-2151
Harassment of sea turtles, an endangered or threatened species, or their nests, is a violation of State and Federal laws, punishable by a fine up to $100,000 and/or imprisonment.
To learn more about the Sunset Beach Turtle Watch program visit their website at www.sunsetbeachturtles.org