The purpose of the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol is to protect and preserve the sea turtles that visit our beach. This is accomplished through identification and protection of nests, inventory of nests, data collection and education of island residents and visitors.
Who We Are
The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol (SITP) is volunteer organization. It is supported financially by the Seabrook Island Property Owners Association and member donations. The SITP operates under a permit issued by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR). The SCDNR establishes guidelines for best practices in the identification, protection and inventory of sea turtle nests. The Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol follows these guidelines and provides data to the SCDNR to assist in tracking the reproductive performance of sea turtles that nest on Seabrook Island, South Carolina.
What We Do
The SITP was formed in 1990 and its primary goal is to protect nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings. In order to accomplish this, members of the patrol walk the beaches every morning during the nesting and hatching season. The season typically runs from May until October. Generally, the beach patrols begin (appropriately!) on Mothers Day. During these walks members identify and locate nests. The nests are then protected with screening and are recorded and monitored. When evidence of hatchlings occurs and sufficient time has passed to allow all hatchlings to emerge on their own, the nest is inventoried to collect data for the SCDNR.
Where We've Been
Since 1990, the Seabrook Island Turtle Patrol has identified over 1000 nests on our beaches and the number of nests each year has been growing. We often have over 70 per year and a record 75 in 2015. Since 1990 sea turtles have deposited over 125,000 eggs in nests on Seabrook Island and about 100,000 live hatchlings started their life journey on Seabrook Island sand.
The SITP has increased from 7 volunteers in the early years to nearly 150 volunteers during recent seasons.