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The Hazards of Beach Furniture to Turtle Nesting

Folded lounge chairs

During the 1998 sea turtle nesting season, lounge chairs were a factor in 64 turtle emergences, resulting in 52 false crawls and 12 nests.

Debbie Sobel and other volunteers from the Sea Turtle Conservation League of Singer Island took pictures and documented every incident involving lounge chairs left on the beach and their effect on nesting attempts made by sea turtles on Singer Island, Florida. However, this problem isn't restricted to just Singer Island. It occurs on turtle nesting beaches throughout the state.

What should be done?

Relaxation view

Lounge chairs and rental boats that are portable could easily be removed from the beach area at night. Heavy wooden lounge chairs should be removed completely during the nesting season, or at least spaced apart 6 feet from side-to-side. Multiple rows of lounge chairs behind hotels also result in a lack of suitable nesting area.

If chairs are to remain on the beach, density should be no more than one row during the nesting season. Furthermore, old lounge chairs and other structures considered "trash" must be removed from the beach instead of stacked along the dune to rot.

Besides creating obstacles for nesting turtles and hatchlings, discarded lounge chairs and furniture also pollute the beaches and waters, entangling turtles like the Kemp's ridley pictured below. It was found dead on Bonita Beach in Lee County.

Dead turtle due to an accident involving a beach chair