Sea Turtle Nesting Season

City of Fernandina Beach
By Mary Hamburg
Digital Communications Specialist
May 6, 2022

Sunday, May 1, marked the beginning of Turtle Nesting Season.  From now until the end of October, mama turtles will be coming onto the beaches of Fernandina Beach to lay eggs at night.  These females need a quiet, dark beach to nest.  Lights can scare and discourage turtles from coming ashore.  If a female fails to nest after multiple attempts, she will often resort to a less-than-optimal nesting spot, resulting in few, if any, hatchlings surviving.

Beachfront light (also flashlights, flash photography, video equipment, and cell phone screen illumination) can cause sea turtle hatchlings to become disoriented and wander away from the ocean.  If sea turtle hatchlings see artificial light, they become confused and may crawl in circles. Often, they die from dehydration, exhaustion, terrestrial predation, or passing cars.

Things you can do to help:

  • Keep beachfront lighting turned off during the nesting and hatching season.
  • Lighting used for purely decorative purposes should be kept off.
  • Reduce light reaching the beach by lowering shielding, recessing and/or redirecting light sources. Any light source visible to an observer standing on the beach is likely to affect sea turtles.
  • Place security lighting on motion-sensitive switches that keep lighting off when it is not needed.
  • Apply dark window tinting to windows visible from the beach and draw curtains and blinds after dark.
  • Outdoor light fixtures should have yellow, amber, or red bulbs.


If you happen to see a nesting sea turtle or hatchlings while you are on the beach, stay at a distance where you cannot be seen.  Remain quiet, keep all lights off (including flashlights, flash photography, and video equipment).  Do not disturb them in any way.


For more information and lighting options, please contact Code Enforcement Director, Michelle Forstrom at (904) 310-3440 or email her at [email protected].  Please visit the City website for more information:

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Mark Tomes
Mark Tomes(@mtomes)
2 years ago

Kudos to all the AI and state park staff and volunteers that patrol the beaches at dawn for crawls, clean the beaches, and educate the public about conservation.