Skip to main content

Sea Turtle Nesting Season Begins: Conservation Efforts and Public Awareness Key in Surfside

Apr 03, 2024



Sea turtle nesting season in Miami-Dade County runs from April 1 to Oct. 31 each year. However, nesting can occur before or after these dates. During nesting season, surveys are conducted daily to monitor, record and study all sea turtle nesting activity. If a crawl is determined to have resulted in a nest, staff mark off the area with stakes, neon tape and a nest sign to protect the nest during incubation. Around 600 nests are laid on Miami-Dade County beaches every year.

Each nest will have approximately 100 hatchlings that will emerge and make their way to the ocean.  Once in the water, it is thought that only one out of a thousand hatchlings will actually survive to adulthood, making conservation efforts incredibly important for the species.

All sea turtles are either Threatened or Endangered. They are protected under federal, state and local laws. The following threaten the sea turtle population:

  • Artificial lighting and urban sky glow
  • Boating traffic
  • Pollution
  • Plastic ingestion
  • Entanglement with fishing gear
  • Coastal development and loss of habitat

Best Lighting Practices 

As a reminder, Code Compliance will be enforcing its Lighting Regulations for Marine Turtle Protection during the entire season. We ask all residents who live on an oceanfront property to follow the regulations for interior lighting by:  

  • Apply tint or film to all windows
  • Rearrange lamps and other moveable fixtures away from windows
  • Use window treatments, such as blinds and curtains to shield interior lights from the beach
  • Turn off unnecessary lights

Help a hatchling when visiting the beach: Make sure you knock down sand castles and fill in holes when leaving the area.

If you observe an adult sea turtle or hatchling marine turtle on the beach, please adhere to the following rules and guidelines:

  1. It is normal for sea turtles to be crawling on the beach on summer nights. DO NOT report normal crawling or nesting (digging or laying eggs) to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission unless the turtle is in a dangerous situation or has wandered off the beach. (on a road, in a parking lot, etc.)
  2.  Stay away from crawling or nesting sea turtles.  Although the urge to observe closely will be great, please resist.  Nesting is a critical stage in the sea turtle's life cycle.  Please leave them undisturbed.
  3. DO REPORT all stranded (dead or injured) turtles to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
  4. NEVER handle hatchling sea turtles.  If you observe hatchlings wandering away from the ocean or on the beach, call: 1-888-404-FWCC or *FWC (Mobile Phone).

What to do if you see a stranded sea turtle:

If you find a dead, sick or injured sea turtle, please call the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) 24-hour wildlife hotline at 1-888-404-3922, dial *FWC from your mobile phone, or call us at 305-310-3046. Follow any instructions given by the staff, who will report to the scene as soon as possible. (If it is calling after business hours, please leave a voicemail, which is monitored regularly, and we will get back to you as quickly as possible).

Be prepared to answer the following questions:

  • What is the location of the turtle?
  • Is the turtle alive or dead?
  • What is the approximate size of the turtle?
  • Is the turtle marked with spray paint?
  • Are there nearby access points to the turtle?


Learn More About Surfside

Want to learn more about events in Surfside? View our Visitors Guide or read more about Surfside on our blog. You can also learn more about Surfside by signing up for our newsletter to stay tuned for news and happenings in town.

Stay Connected with Surfside

For more information about news and happenings in Surfside, follow us on social media on Facebook and Instagram, using #surfsidefl. For any inquiries, please email