Beachfront Lighting: Education & Materials

Through funding from the Sea Turtle License Plate Grants Program, STC conducted Project LIGHTS: Lighting Innovation for Greater Home and Turtle Safety as a public education initiative to dispel concerns about the safety and cost of sea turtle-friendly lights. Project LIGHTS uses four traveling educational displays to “show” coastal residents and visitors how sea turtle-friendly lights can provide safety for both humans and turtles, while also providing a substantial energy cost savings for home owners.

Each traveling display is three-sided with a different good lighting practice highlighted on each side.

To help improve the implementation of lighting regulations, STC is developing a sea turtle lighting training program tailored for local code enforcement personnel. This hands-on, field-oriented program will train code enforcement personnel to identify the kinds of lighting sources and fixtures (e.g., wall and ceiling mount, pathway, pool, parking lot and garage lighting) that can negatively impact sea turtles. This training will enable code enforcement officers to properly educate property owners and recommend sea turtle friendly lighting alternatives, which limit impacts to turtles while meeting the safety and visibility needs of people. Local field trips will be conducted to view coastal properties with problematic lights and to assess possible lighting retrofits that eliminate impacts to sea turtle nesting habitat. As part of the training course, educational videos will be provided to code enforcement staff.

Download the Darker Beaches, Brighter Futures Lighting Guide

Download the Sea Turtles & Lighting Brochure

The Seeing Stars – Dark Skies Poster poster provides information on the importance of Dark Skies and Controlling Light Pollution.


What You Can Do

  • Many of Florida’s coastal communities have passed lighting ordinances that encourage residents to turn off beachfront lights during sea turtle nesting season. Understanding and following the requirements of these ordinances is vital to the survival of sea turtles;
  • Go out to the beach at night and identify what lights on your property are visible from the beach. If the lights are not needed for safety, simple turn them off. If the lights cannot be turned off, shield, redirect or lower the height of the lights so they are no longer visible from the beach;
  • Replace problematic lights with turtle friendly fixtures designed to direct light where you need it and away from the beach;
  • Use red or amber LED bulbs (which are less disruptive to nesting sea turtles and hatchlings), in shielded, downward directed turtle friendly fixtures;
  • Replace high pressure sodium vapor lights with low pressure sodium lights;
  • Reduce interior lighting problems by applying window tint at a 15% light transmittance level or close opaque curtains or blinds after dark to reduce the amount of visible light reaching the beach;
  • Only light for safety, avoid decorative or uplights during the nesting & hatchling season;
  • Place security lighting on motion-sensors. Having a light suddenly turn on can be effective security.