Turtle Light Guidelines
Keeping the beach dark is critical. Sea turtles and their hatchlings traditionally use the light from the moon and stars to navigate toward the ocean. Ambient light from shoreline buildings, especially exposed bulbs and up lit facades and palm trees, disorient the turtles and they walk in the wrong direction, often to their death.
During turtle season, from March 1 through October 31, beach residents are required to comply with strict lighting guidelines. While in the past it was thought that switching to 15 watt yellow bulbs was sufficient, newer LED technology has made compliance with the new guidelines achievable.
Under State statute, any act that kills, injures or impairs a turtle’s essential behavior is considered a “taking,” and may result in a third degree felony offense and a $1,000 fine per incident. If a nest has 100 eggs, which is not uncommon, the fine could be $100,000. Fortunately, our City is interested in helping residents avoid punitive action from the State or Federal agencies by monitoring the beaches and warning property owners of violations.
In order to meet the criteria for Wildlife Lighting, a fixture or lamp must be able to satisfy all three of the following requirements:
KEEP IT LOW.
The fixture must be able to be mounted low with the lowest lumens for the needed purpose.
KEEP IT SHIELDED.
The fixture must be able to shield the lamp or glowing lens from the beach or wildlife corridor when mounted appropriately. Note that up lighting of trees is no longer acceptable.
KEEP IT LONG.
The bulb must produce only long wavelength light (560 nanometers or longer, ambers and reds).
Existing fixtures that are not certified by the FWC can be used if they meet the above criteria and are lamped with the appropriate bulb. If existing fixtures are being replaced, it is not necessary to get a permit, but highly recommended to consult the Fish and Wildlife website for appropriate fixture styles. Any completely new lighting fixture may require an electrical permit, at which time owners will be advised to use wildlife approved fixtures.
It is also important for residents to draw their curtains closed at night in order to shield the interior lights, as bright chandeliers visible through windows and glass doors will attract turtle hatchlings, and make sure any balcony lights comply with the turtle light standards. Additionally, residents must remove all chairs, canopies, boats, and other items from the beach at night, as these items may block movement of turtles and hatchlings.
*Low pressure Sodium (LPS) 18w 35w
*Red, orange, or Amber LED (true red, orange or Amber diode, NOT filters
For additional information, contact:
City of Delray Beach
434 South Swinton Avenue, Delray Beach, FL 33444
Complete information that describes the requirements, the light fixtures, and the bulbs can be found on MYFWC.COM
By reading through these pages and the related links, you should have a good idea of what is compliant.
WHERE TO BUY BULBS AND LAMPS
2273 N Federal Highway, Boca Raton 33431
561-338-5211 or 1-800-269-2852
Carries the low wattage amber LED bulbs in a number of different shapes. The two most popular turtle bulbs they sell are:
80147 LED/A19/3W/O at $9.95
S9188 LED/PAR20/AMBER at $29.95
4411 Bee Ridge Rd, #344, Sarasota, FL 34233
Matt Ross, President 941-376-8484 direct Here is a link to the specs and photo of their most popular LED turtle light,
the 9.5W A19 Amber ($29.95 each, $27.95 at 100 pieces) has a 3 year warranty
Sea Turtle Lighting, a specialty division of Synergy Lighting, Inc.
6015 28th Street East, Warehouse a, Bradenton, FL 34203
1-877-220-5483 or call C J Hahn direct at 941-756-4844 ext. 207
Here is a link to the specs and photo of their most popular LED turtle light:
The 6W Par20 Amber ($29 each, $27 each at 100+ pieces) has a 5 year warranty
3698 ½ NW 16th Street Bay A
Lauderhill, FL 33311
Charles Weber, Business Development
From the FWC Website:
FWC APPROVED SEA TURTLE LIGHTING
All exterior lighting for the entire project area including structural and landscape lighting must be reviewed and approved by FWC regardless of whether or not the area is seaward of the CCCL
All exterior fixtures on the seaward and the shore perpendicular sides of the building (and on the landward side of the building if they are visible from the beach) should be well shielded, full cut-off, downward directed type fixtures. All exterior fixtures on the landward side of the building should be downward directed only.
ACCEPTABLE LAMPS / BULBS AND OTHER LIGHT SOURCES
Long wave length lights, e.g. those that produce light that measures greater than 560 nanometers on a spectroscope, are necessary for all construction visible from and adjacent to marine turtle nesting beaches. Bright white light, such as metal halide, halogen, fluorescent, mercury vapor and incandescent lamps will not be approved. Filters are unreliable and not allowed. Limited use of shorter wavelength lights may be approved in areas where direct and indirect light or glow could not possibly be visible from the beach upon approval by FWC.
- Low Pressure Sodium (LPS) 18w, 35w
Red, orange or amber LED (true red, orange or amber diodes, NOT filters) True red neon
Other lighting sources that produce light of 560 nm or longer
**** FWC approved lighting may be found at http://www.myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/managed/sea-turtles/turtles-lights/
STATEMENT ABOUT TURTLE GLASS ON LIGHTING PLAN
The plan shall reflect that tinted glass or film with a visible light transmittance value of forty-five (45) percent or less shall be applied to all windows and doors within line of sight of the beach. This includes the seaward and shore-perpendicular sides of the structure. This may be specified in the notes section on the Lighting Plan architectural drawing and should be included in the FDEP Permit Conditions.
THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT ALLOWED
- Private balcony lights
- Up lights
- Tree strap downlights
- Decorative lighting, not necessary for human safety or security
- Pond lights
- Dune walkover lighting
- Fountain lights on beach or shore perpendicular side of structure