The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) developed a model lighting ordinance as a guideline to help coastal counties and municipalities in Florida develop their own local ordinances to protect sea turtles from the adverse effects of artificial lighting. However, not all coastal governments have adopted a lighting ordinance, and a number of those that lack the funding or political will to properly enforce the regulations.
As a result, there are still many important nesting beaches in Florida with high disorientation rates due to bright beach front lighting. By knowing what types of fixtures and bulbs to avoid, you can help to protect sea turtle hatchlings and other beach-dwelling animals such as beach mice and shorebirds. When buying fixtures and bulbs for your beachfront property, remember the three golden rules: Keep it low, Keep it shielded, and Keep it long. See below for examples of good beachfront lighting.
All of these fixtures are sea turtle friendly because they are directed downward, are low to the ground, and are shielded. You can visit the website or spec sheet of each fixture manufacturer by clicking on the pictures. For more examples and brands of turtle friendly lighting, visit FWC’s guide that provides examples of turtle friendly lighting.
These bulbs are sea turtle-friendly because they utilize long-wavelength light (580 nanometers or longer), such as lights that are yellow, amber, or red in color. You can visit the website or spec sheet of each bulb manufacturer by clicking on the pictures.
Sea turtle lighting can provide adequate lighting for safety, attractiveness and compliance with beachfront lighting ordinances. Below are pictures of sea turtle fixtures and bulbs at properties STC has retrofitted.
While most home improvement stores do not currently carry FWC-certified fixtures and bulbs, they can start to carry certain manufacturers if customers request them. You can also purchase sea turtle friendly products from lighting distributors in your area. Below is a list of distributors STC has worked with in the past. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
Sea Turtle Lighting Distributors
Lighting By Lavonne – Panama City
Sequel – Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola, and Mobile, Alabama
Synergy – Bradenton
Mathes Electric – Pensacola
Mayer Electric – Orlando, Tampa, Winter Haven
United Lighting and Supply – Fort Walton Beach
Turtle friendly ATV headlights for FWC-permitted turtle groups
A group of biologists created waterproof LED lights that operate in the turtle-friendly 626 nanometer wavelength range, eliminating the need to put red film over ATV lights during beach surveys. The company is called Loggerhead Lights. To visit the website, click on the picture to the left. For information on ordering, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see what retrofitted properties look like, visit the Before and After Retrofit pictures page.