Video: U.S. Coast Guard Helps Return Baby Sea Turtles to the Wild

Published Nov 17, 2020 10:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

Coast Guard Station Fort Lauderdale crew members released more than 200 baby sea turtles on Monday at a postion about 10 miles off the Fort Lauderdale coast, returning them to their natural habitat and increasing their odds of survival. 

Working with the Gumbo Limbo Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Center, the boat crew released Green, Loggerhead, and Hawksbill sea turtles from several sea turtle hospitals along the Florida East Coast. "Since the pandemic, we've had a hard time finding volunteers to assist us with sea turtle releases," said Whitney Crowder, the sea turtle rehabilitation coordinator with Gumbo Limbo Nature Center. "But the Coast Guard hasn't said no yet."

During nesting season, from March through October, these turles journeyed from their nest to the ocean but were blown back to shore. They range from a few weeks to several months old. Some have injuries, usually from predators, and often they are malnourished. When they are recovered and taken to a turtle rehabilitation center, they are kept hydrated, allowed to rest in a hospital tank, and given food until they are strong enough to be released back to their habitat.

"Many of these turtles do not make it . . . which is why sea turtles have such large nests," said Crowder. "We are giving them a better chance to become an adult by releasing them offshore and as close to the Gulf Stream and their habitat as possible."

"Station Fort Lauderdale takes pride in our duty to ensure our country’s protected marine species are provided the necessary resources to help their population recover to healthy, sustainable levels, which includes our sea turtle population," said Lt. Raymond Milne, commanding officer, Station Fort Lauderdale. "The crew especially enjoys the living marine resource mission and finds these releases help balance the rigors of their everyday routine."