Protecting Sea Turtles: Six Things You Can Do to Make a Difference

a sea turtle hatchling crawls across an empty beach toward the sea during daytime. [credit:, Kanenori]
[CREDIT:, Kanenori]

Sea turtles are among the most majestic creatures on our planet. With their gentle nature and graceful movements, they have captivated people for centuries. However, these incredible sea dwellers are facing numerous threats that endanger their very existence. From climate change and pollution to habitat loss and poaching, sea turtles need our help now more than ever. Let’s explore how you can make a difference in protecting these magnificent creatures.

Support Conservation Organizations

Numerous organizations are dedicated to protecting and conserving sea turtles. These organizations conduct scientific research, implement conservation projects, rescue injured turtles, and work towards strengthening legislation. Consider donating to reputable sea turtle conservation groups or volunteering your time and skills to assist their efforts. Every little contribution can make a significant impact on their work.

Here in Florida, one of the easiest ways to contribute to sea turtle conservation is by participating in the “Helping Sea Turtles Survive License Plate” program.

Volunteer for Beach Cleanups

a member of OCG Save the Ocean helps clear trash and debris from a beach. [credit:, OCG Save the Ocean]
[CREDIT:, OCG Save the Ocean]

Marine pollution is a significant threat to sea turtles. They often mistake plastic debris for food, which can lead to injury or even death. Participating in beach cleanups is an excellent way to directly contribute to their well-being. Join local cleanup initiatives or organize one yourself.

By removing trash from shorelines, we can prevent marine pollution and create safer environments for sea turtles and other marine life.

You can learn more about how marine debris impacts wildlife, by visiting

Practice Safe Boating

Sea turtles are commonly found offshore, near-shore waters, and in bays, so you should always keep on the lookout for them. Sea turtles have to come up to the surface for air, and they can be difficult to spot from afar. Boat strikes are a serious threat to these marine reptiles, so it is better to go slow, especially if you see one, slow down and steer around them, and stay away at least 50 yards away, if they are closer, you should put your engine in neutral to prevent injury.

Reduce Plastic Usage

Plastic pollution is a big concern for sea turtles. They can become entangled in discarded fishing nets and ingest plastic waste, leading to severe health complications. Do what you can to reduce the utilization of single-use plastics in your everyday life. Carry a reusable water bottle, bring your own bags when shopping, and avoid using plastic straws and cutlery. Choose more eco-friendly alternatives and encourage others to do the same. Even small changes can help reduce plastic waste in our oceans. To learn more about this issue, and ways to help, you might want to check this recorded webinar.

stakes, yellow tape and a sign delineate and help protect a sea turtle nest on a florida beach. [credit: uf/ifas, tyler jones]
[CREDIT: UF/IFAS, Tyler Jones]

Respect Their Habitat

If you have the opportunity to visit sea turtle nesting beaches or feeding grounds, be respectful of their natural habitats. Follow local guidelines and regulations to ensure minimal disturbance to nesting turtles or fragile marine ecosystems. Avoid leaving trash behind, follow light regulations during sea turtle nesting season (March to October in Florida), and cover holes after playing on the beach, hatchlings (baby sea turtles) coming out of the nest and on their way to the water can get trapped in those holes and die.

Respecting sea turtle habitats is crucial to maintaining their populations and ensuring their continued survival.  If you come across a sea turtle, keep your distance and do not disturb them.

To learn more about this issue, read my blog, Save turtles: stay low, long and shielded.

Spread Awareness

Knowledge is a powerful tool, and one of the simplest but most effective ways to protect sea turtles is by spreading awareness. Educate yourself about these magnificent marine animals, their habitats, and the threats they face. Then, raise awareness in your own community by telling your friends, family, and community. Engage in discussions, share informative articles, and use social media to spread the word.

By increasing awareness, we can promote empathy and drive people to take action. To learn more about sea turtle conservation, visit

Right now, sea turtles are in desperate need of our protection. By spreading awareness, supporting conservation organizations, participating in beach cleanups, practicing safe boating, reducing plastic usage, and respecting their habitats, we can all contribute to their preservation. Our actions today will have a lasting impact on their future and the health of our oceans.


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Posted: December 13, 2023

Category: Coasts & Marine, Community Volunteers, Conservation, Natural Resources, Wildlife
Tags: Beach, Conservation, Florida Sea Grant, Habitat, Pgm_Marine, Protection, Sea Turtle, Shore, Turtle, Volunteer, Wildlife

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