One of our family’s favourite pastimes at the beach is castle building and that includes lots of digging. I have always associated digging holes in the sand as a fun and harmless activity. But, after reading several articles I realize it has become an issue over the past few years and can have serious consequences. There have been cases of injury caused from those seemingly harmless large pits that we beachgoers love to dig. When we first visited Anna Maria Island we were not aware of the beach rules and I’m sure some of our guests at Anna Maria Island Condo Rentals – 601 Gulf Dr. N. Anna Maria Island, Florida 34217 aren’t either. Hopefully by sharing this information we will increase awareness for the safety of the sea turtles and all visitors.
Because May 1st marks the official beginning of turtle season on Anna Maria Island I will start with this as the first reason why when we dig the holes we need to fill the holes.
The Loggerhead Turtle is the most common species of sea turtle that nests on Anna Maria Island. Turtle nesting season which runs from May 1 to October is when the sea turtles swim to land and lay their eggs. They crawl up the beach, typically during the night, dig nests, usually by the seagrass, and lay their eggs. As you walk along the beach you might have see marked nests scattered throughout the white sand beaches.
Anna Maria Island has several enforceable rules to help protect sea turtles and native animals. These include, filling in holes on the beach, not leaving objects overnight such as beach chairs/umbrellas or tent canopies that pose as an obstacle, no littering/pick up trash on the beach, turn off artificial light (no flashlights or flash photography) that could cause disorientation and lastly, if you see a turtle nesting stay back and watch from a distance. Holes also can become traps or impediments for female sea turtles, which must make their way on land to nest.
So while we are having a great day at the beach digging our holes, remember the only time these female sea turtles leave the water is to nest and these holes can become traps for them. Lights out because baby turtles follow the reflection of the moon on the water so house lights or flashlights will confuse them causing them to travel to land instead of the water. Anna Maria Island is fortunate to have many volunteers that do as much as they can to ensure as many babies as possible make it safely to the water. These volunteers also keep track of the nests and pay close attention as each nest gets close to hatching. With the decrease in sea turtle population let’s all do our part to assist the Island volunteers as they do their part.
Well helping the turtles here are some additional reasons why we should not dig deep holes in the sand:
  • These unexpected holes can injure those walking or running when their foot catches in one. A twisted, sprained or worse a broken ankle is something we all want to avoid.
  • Holes in the sand become dangerous obstacles and make it more difficult for emergency vehicles to get to where they need to be. Those that patrol the beach on 4 wheelers or in any emergency vehicle must navigate around these holes slowing their response time and creating a major hazard for the vehicles as well.
  • Large holes or even smaller holes dug with toy shovels can be harmful not just to the turtles but to other wildlife as well.
There are endless ways to spend time on our beautiful beach, whether you are in the sand or on the water.
Spending time at the beach is something we all enjoy, so please avoid digging large holes creating a safer beach environment for all of us as well as the turtles. Our beaches are meant for fun and relaxation, so let’s work together to reduce mishaps and injuries allowing everyone a wonderful beach experience.
Well it’s okay to dig, and if you want to dig deep, please do not leave the holes. It is imperative for all beachgoers, to make sure any holes you dig are filled in before you leave the beach.
And, if you see holes left by others do a good deed and fill them in.
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