Collision Prevention

How to Navigate Your Boat Around Sea Turtles Safely:

  • Stay a canoe-length distance away (~15ft) when in a boat
  • Appoint a sea turtle spotter as a look-out
  • Wear polarized sunglasses to help you see turtles better
  • Slow down, and avoid sudden changes in speed and/or direction
  • Follow all posted speed limits and all designated buoys
  • Ease off the throttle until you reach deeper water
  • Avoid areas close to where turtles gather, like seagrass beds
  • Do not disturb seagrass with propellers or anchors
  • Do not disturb coral reefs, and slow down when passing
  • Do not approach turtles when other boats are already near them
  • Do not pursue, encircle, or trap sea turtles
  • Stay alert and avoid collisions
  • If a collision occurs:
    • Step 1: Call the sea turtle hotline 1-866-TURTLE-5 (1-866-887-8535)
    • Step 2: Provide your contact information and location as well as the turtle’s size and condition
    • Step 3: Stay with the turtle and wait for instructions
  • If you encounter a sea turtle:
    • Use no-wake speed, put the engine in neutral, and let the turtle pass
    • Never approach head-on, move around sea turtles and DO NOT expect them to swim out of the way!
    • If you must move, move slowly from behind the turtle
    • Ensure the turtle is safely away before engaging the propeller, and move away slowly


Boat threats to marine life
Safe boating
How you can help protect marine life from boat strikes