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7 Things You Can Do to Save Sea Turtles

originally printed by SSI - June 15, 2022

Sea turtles have played a vital role in maintaining the health of the ocean for over 100 million years. These remarkable animals ensure we have healthy coral reefs and seagrass beds and maintain global ocean biodiversity. But sadly, they are under significant threat from human actions. So much so, that six of the seven sea turtle species are classified as threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. The good news is there are many things you can do to create a better future for sea turtles. As we celebrate World Sea Turtle Day on 16th June, get involved with our top 7 ways you can help save sea turtles.

How you can help save sea turtles.

1. Reduce, reuse, and recycle your plastics.

More than 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. Sea turtles eat this plastic as they often mistake it for one of their favorite foods, jellyfish, and then become unwell or die.

Sea turtles are also harmed if their heads, limbs or bodies become entangled in plastic trash, leaving them unable to move freely or feed.

Reducing your plastic use, ensuring you reuse any plastics you have, and recycling them are three of the top ways you can help save sea turtles. The most important part is reducing your plastic use in the first place.

With so many companies offering plastic-free alternatives, it is easy to say no to plastics.

Pick disposable items made from wood, bamboo, paper, or other biodegradable materials, and start using glass containers instead of plastic storage containers.

When plastic is the only choice available to you, make sure you recycle it.

2. Turn off your lights.

If you live by the beach or are on a beach vacation, check if sea turtles nest at your beach. If they do, make sure you turn off any lights that are visible from the beach at night.

Sea turtles love the dark and they dig their nests at nighttime. Artificial lighting can confuse sea turtles and their hatchlings.

This reduces their chances of breeding successfully and of new hatchlings finding their way to the ocean.

Only 1 in 1,000 hatchlings survive until adulthood, so sea turtles need all the help they can get! Give them the best chance you can by closing your curtains and switching your lights off the next time you stay at the beach.

3. Do not buy anything made from sea turtles.

When you go on vacation, you are likely to find gift shops selling local souvenirs and jewelry; some of which might be made from sea turtle shells.

The trade of turtle shell is a major threat to the survival of sea turtles.

It can be very hard to tell if an item is made from turtle shell or is a plastic or coconut shell imitation. Keep it simple – do not buy anything that looks like it could be made from turtle shell.

4. Collect loose fishing line and recycle it.

If you go fishing or spot fishing line on the beach, make sure you collect the line and recycle it. Sea turtles cannot see discarded fishing line and can be injured or die if they become entangled in it.

This is a great incentive for you to pick up trash whenever you visit the beach. Keep a bag handy, pick up a few items, and know you will be helping to save sea turtles from harm.

5. Join the SSI Blue Oceans Community.

We are stronger together and have a much greater impact when we are part of a community working to save the ocean.

It is easier to stick to new resolutions, attend beach clean-ups, and get inspired when you are surrounded by like-minded people.

Blue Oceans, powered by SSI, is a free program that will help you to contribute to ocean conservation in meaningful yet easy ways.

This initiative is a perfect starting point for divers, SSI Training Centers and non-divers to incorporate ocean conservation into their daily lives; helping to save sea turtles and other marine life.

6. Visit sea turtles!

Swimming with sea turtles, watching them nest, or witnessing tiny hatchlings make their way to the ocean is a life-changing experience.

When you visit places that support sea turtle conservation, the local community and sea turtles benefit.

Make sure you follow sea turtle watching tips to protect sea turtles during your travels and consider volunteering for sea turtle conservation organizations.

Check out these top places to watch and swim with sea turtles:

  • Zakynthos, Greece

  • The Great Barrier Reef, Australia

  • East Malaysia

  • Wakatobi, Indonesia

  • Lhaviyani Atoll, Maldives

  • Akumal, Mexico

  • Oahu, Hawaii

  • Marsa Alam, Egypt

7. Become an SSI Sea Turtle Ecology Diver.

You can help save sea turtles from home by becoming an SSI Sea Turtle Ecology Diver. This informative course will teach you about the role of sea turtles in marine ecosystems and threats to their survival, helping you to become a sea turtle conservation expert.

As well as being a great way to learn all about sea turtles, you will enrich your dive and snorkel experiences by learning how to recognize and identify the different sea turtle species.

Any snorkeler aged ten and up can join this course, with optional open water sessions. Plus, you can also complete the entire course online in the comfort of your own home.

Until next time, Fair Winds, Following Seas and Ultimate Visibility!

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