Our biggest problems during the nesting season are:
- Litter on the beach – It’s a problem everywhere and the tide or wind moves it into the ocean. Litter could be ingested by marine life or just create an overall unfriendly environment. We ask that you “only leave your footprints” after visiting our beaches.
- Holes on the beach – Mommas can fall in when crawling on the beach to nest and may not be able to get out, while hatchlings are doomed if they fall in. We ask that you only use small shovels and fill in the hole before leaving the beach. The tides do not always adequately fill in holes. Hilton Head has an ordinance regarding holes and shovels as follows:
- Digging holes and shovels. Anyone digging a hole or creating a sand structure on the beach shall restore the sand to its natural condition before leaving the beach and no later than thirty (30) minutes prior to sunset as stated by the National Weather Service. Shovels, except those that are made of wood and/or plastic and that are less than thirty (30) inches in length and six (6) inches in width, shall be prohibited on the beach. No persons shall dig any hole to a depth greater than twelve (12) inches on the beach. Authorized personnel, including members of the Sea Turtle Patrol, town employees performing work related to beach preservation, and others approved by the town shall be exempt from the application of this section.
- Unattended personal property left on the beach between sunset and sunrise – Sea turtles can become entangled or startled. This will likely cause them to abort their plan to nest. Hilton Head’s ordinance on this:
- Personal property left unattended. Any personal property referenced in sec. 8-1-112 left unattended on the beach between the hours from sunset to sunrise as stated by the National Weather Service shall be deemed a public nuisance and the town or authorized personnel shall dispose of them. Those who leave unattended or store personal property on the beach between the hours from sunset to sunrise do so at their own risk. The town and authorized personnel do not assume any liability for personal property left unattended or stored on the beach between the hours from sunset to sunrise.
- Lights on the beach are also a threat during our nesting season. When on the beach after dusk and certainly by 10:00 PM, only red lights should be used. No white lights of any kind (flashlights, cell-phone or bikes). Beach front properties should properly shade or turn off lights that can illuminate the beach.