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Sea Turtle Protection Along the Crystal Coast

Join your local Sea Turtle Protection Crew!

Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Patrol

The Emerald Isle Sea Turtle Patrol group has played an active role in protecting Turtle hatchlings along our coast for many years. The EI Sea Turtle Patrol is made up of around 250 volunteers, all working in specific capacities to help ensure that baby turtles make it down to the water safely at birth. They cover 13 miles of beach, split into 1 mile zones. During nesting season, walkers in each zone are out at dawn to look for tracks left by nesting mothers. When a nest is discovered, other members come out to stake it off. If it is in a precarious location, volunteers will move the nest, but only if it is absolutely necessary. The goal is always to keep things as natural as possible. Once a nest is close to hatching, also known as a boil- nest sitters keep a vigil through the night to ensure that the hatchlings make it out to the water. During the summer, the sitters often have plenty of company; visitors pull up their beach chairs and settle in to watch the nest and ask questions, this draws in more people, and before you know it, it’s a turtle party. The fall boils tend to be more quiet, intimate affairs with just the sitters and hatchlings. A few days after a boil, the patrol excavates the nest and takes an inventory, which gets turned over to the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

For more information about the EI Sea Turtle Patrol, or if you have any questions- please reach out to Program Coordinator Dale Baquer at eiseaturtlepatrol@gmail.com

The Annual EI Sea Turtle Patrol Meeting will be held

Saturday, April 6th from 10 AM-1 PM

at the Emerald Isle Rec Center (7500 Emerald Drive)

Come out to learn more about the program, meet the zone coordinators,

and sign up to become part of the Sea Turtle Patrol team!

Atlantic Beach Sea Turtle Program

Each summer in Atlantic Beach, and all along Bogue Banks, Sea Turtle Nesting season is from May 1 through October. Of the seven sea turtle species, five are found in NC waters and loggerheads are the most common turtle nesting on NC beaches. These amazing animals need to be protected.

To help protect these endangered animals, NC Wildlife Resources Commission has volunteers that walk the beaches every morning looking for sea turtle crawls that indicate a nest has been laid. The nest is then roped off until it hatches, 50-60 days later. Before the nests hatch, volunteers watch the nests in the evening to help ensure the hatchlings make it to the ocean.

Help protect sea turtle nests by volunteering with the North Carolina Sea Turtle Project. Contact the Atlantic Beach Sea Turtle Volunteer Coordinator: Michele Lamping        ABseaturtlecoordinator@hotmail.com 

For more information about the EI Sea Turtle Patrol, or if you have any questions- please reach out to Program Coordinator Dale Baquer at eiseaturtlepatrol@gmail.com

Even if you’re not living full-time along The Crystal Coast, here are some ways to help promote sustainable sea turtle nests!

  • Turn off or shield bright oceanside lights during nesting season so turtles don’t get confused when trying to reach the ocean.
  • When walking the beach at night, use flashlights with a red filter. The red light will not distract or deter the turtles.
  • Take care of your trash and pick up litter so sea turtles and other animals don’t choke or become entangled.
  • Remove all chairs, umbrellas, cabanas and other obstacles overnight to help provide safe movement for and prevent obstructions to, nesting sea turtles during Summer-Fall nesting season. They may block nesting females and new hatchlings.
  • Fill in any holes you find dug on the beach. People and nesting females can fall into holes and injure themselves.
  • Keep your pets and children away from designated nest sites on the beach.
  • Report any nesting activity or injured and dead turtles you encounter to the NC Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores, 252-247-4003.