Sea Turtles

Marine turtle conservation is a significant endeavor in the state of Florida state via the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC; Mote Marine, located on has an active sea turtle conservation and research program ( The Longboat Key Turtle Watch is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization and is permitted with FWC under Mote Marine Laboratory to perform activities related to sea turtle nesting on Longboat Key (

May 1 until October 31st is Sea Turtle Nesting Season

The Town of Longboat Key, in cooperation with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has developed a new ordinance to protect endangered and threatened sea turtles nesting on our beaches. The following link provides the Title 9, Chapter 100 -- Marine Turtle Protection Ordinance in full:

In general, the ordinance requires that indoor and outdoor lighting (single or cumulative) be diminished to the point where sea turtles are not distracted toward our buildings. Nesting females and hatchlings are driven by the moonlight and ambient Gulf light on moonless nights. If the building lights are brighter than the moon or ambient Gulf light, the adult females and hatchlings become disoriented, moving toward the buildings and away from the Gulf of Mexico. Your negative effect can be as simple as not closing the shades in your unit, keeping a lamp too close to the shades, or your shades being too thin.

In addition, the ordinance requires that ALL beach furniture, toys, tents, etc. be removed every evening at sunset. If not removed, fines may be incurred, and/or items may be confiscated by the Town of Longboat Key.

Here are some “do and don’t” tips to keep our beaches turtle-friendly:

DO stay away from sea turtle nests marked with yellow stakes and tape, and seabird nesting zones that are bounded by ropes.

DO remain quiet and observe from a distance if you encounter a nesting sea turtle or hatchlings.

DO shield or turn off outdoor lights that are visible on the beach from May through October.

DO close drapes after dark and stack beach furniture at the dune line or, ideally, remove it from the beach

DO fill in holes that may entrap hatchlings on their way to the water.


DON’T approach nesting turtles or hatchlings, make noise, or shine lights at turtles.

DON’T use flashlights, head lamps or fishing lamps on the beach.

DON’T encourage a turtle to move while nesting or pick up hatchlings that have emerged and are heading for the water.

DON’T use fireworks on the beach.

DON’T walk dogs on any Sarasota County beach other than Brohard Paw Park in Venice. There, dogs must be leashed or under voice control, according to county ordinances.

  August 2022  
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