Everything You Need to Know About Sea Turtle Season in Ponce Inlet

Wed, May 05, 2021 at 11:39AM

Everything You Need to Know About Sea Turtle Season in Ponce Inlet

Nesting Season in Ponce

The majority of Sea Turtles will nest in Florida between the months of March to October.  During the night female Sea Turtles come to our shores to nest. After digging a hole in the sand and laying her eggs; she returns to the sea. The baby sea turtles hatch in about 2 months. These Hatchlings then face the challenging task of climbing out of their nest to make the journey from the dunes all the way to the ocean’s surf.

Hatchlings may run into trouble along the way.  They can be confused and disoriented by lights onshore and travel in the wrong direction. Trash and other items left behind can tangle and trap them.  Hatchlings can fall into holes left unfilled by a beach visitor.  A predator like a crab, shorebird, or raccoon might catch and make a meal out of them.

How Does Ponce Protect Our Sea Turtles?

During nesting season, the drive-on beach is not open to the public until it has been inspected by the Sea Turtle Monitoring Team.  This same team inspects the beach to the north of the drive-on section in Ponce. The team is specially trained and permitted to monitor the beach for nest sightings. Nests are marked off, identified, and monitored all along Volusia County beaches.

Another group of volunteers are known as Washback Watchers. This team is permitted and trained to find and rescue young Sea Turtles which may get washed back to shore due to a heavy storm, wind, and surf. This occurs mostly from August to November in Florida. 

You Can Protect Sea Turtles Too

Some ways you can protect Sea Turtles:

  • Keep a 30-foot distance and do not pick up/handle a sea turtle or hatchling.
  • Avoid shining lights on the beach at night and if staying on beachside keep lights low/off and blinds shut at night.
  • Do not walk/cycle in nesting areas.
  • Do not disturb nests or their markers.
  • Avoid walking on the dunes.
  • Don’t litter (cigarette butts, fishing line, other plastic trash, and bags can harm sea turtles)
  • Remove obstacles like toys, umbrellas, chairs, clothing.
  • Fill holes and flatten the sand before you leave the beach.
  • Pick up any trash you see on the beach and put it in a waste receptacle.
  • Report injured turtles to local Volusia County beach officials, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission- 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) or *FWC from your cell phone, Marine Science Center (MSC)- between 8A-4P at 386-304-5545 or the MSC 24/7 “Turtles On Call”- 386-804-5587 (after hours).


The Marine Science Center of Ponce Inlet Rehabs Sea Turtles

The Marine Science Center has a rehabilitation hospital for turtles as well as birds.  One of its main missions is Sea Turtle rehabilitation. Since 2002 the Sea Turtle Hospital has cared for about 1,500 juvenile and adult sea turtles and more than 20,000 hatchlings and washbacks.  Its rehabilitation hospital continues to operate but the Marine Science Center has not been open to the public during the Covid-19 pandemic. To learn more about the Center’s amazing rehabilitation work, click here.

Visit Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, Museum, and Gift Shop

Make the most of your visit to Ponce and spend the day here! Explore the Lighthouse and Museum. Find that perfect gift and/or souvenir in our extensive gift shop.

The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse was first activated in 1887.  It is a functioning lighthouse serving our local waterways.  Visit to learn more about the light station’s historic structures and exhibits. Visit and explore the Principal Keeper’s Dwelling or the Lens Building. Experience what life was like as a Lightkeeper in the early days.

From the top of the Lighthouse balcony, you can see the Atlantic Ocean, Ponce Inlet Beach, its dunes, and the Halifax River.

The Lighthouse is open daily 10 AM to 6 PM with the last admission at 5:00 PM. We hope to see you soon!

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