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 nocturnal beach-dwelling animals such as beach mice, frogs 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 and poor beachfront lighting.
This unshielded wall light, pathway globe light, pole light and marine wall pack are examples of poor lighting because they emit light in all directions and contain white bulbs. These lights produce much more illumination than is needed for safety and can cause hatchling disorientations.
All of these fixtures are sea-turtle friendly because they are directed downward, are low to the ground, and are shielded.
For more specific examples and brands of sea-turtle friendly lighting, visit FWC’s guide that provides examples of sea turtle-friendly lighting.
These bulbs are sea turtle-friendly because they utilize long-wavelength light (570 nanometers or longer), such as lights that are yellow, amber, or red in color.
There are a number of sea-turtle certified lighting distributors available. Below is a list of distributors STC has worked with in the past. This is by no means an exhaustive list.
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.