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Often times when approached about the requirement of Sea Turtle Safe Lighting, Property Managers and Owners get the impression that the Sea Turtle Folks expect them to be in the dark. This simply is not the case, although we understand why one might feel that way. Simply stated by a Sea Turtle Permit Holder or Code Enforcement, “Your lights are too bright and visible from the beach”. What they are really telling you is that your lighting can be more user friendly, effective, and energy efficient.
Mostly, outdoor lighting is wasteful illumination into the sky and adjacent properties. This is because the majority of wall lights, ceiling lights and floodlights are emitting light in 360°, when they really don’t need to. The basic concept of Sea Turtle Lighting it to use specific types of light sources such as Light Bulbs and LED Lighting that emit a wavelength of 450 nanometers. This wavelength is virtually invisible to Sea Turtles, except where they can directly view the intensity of the light source itself. Then this light source is paired with a lighting fixture that directly controls the direction and beam spread of the lighting. This means that light is effectively and accurately lighting the areas of concern without wasteful light.
Coastal properties that chose to upgrade to Sea Turtle Lighting Systems employ the latest in energy efficient lighting and design. This means they operate more effectively and efficiently than traditional outdoor lighting systems while saving on the electric bill. Any property along coastal areas and waterways where Sea Turtles nest is subject to this requirement, however when specified by a Sea Turtle – Lighting Professional, the lighting will not only keep Sea Turtles safe, it will also accentuate and leave your property looking beautiful!
The basic principles of turtle friendly lighting
- Keep it LOW – Mount the fixture as low as possible to minimize light trespass, and use the lowest amount of light needed for the task
- Keep it SHIELDED – Fully shield the light so bulbs and/or glowing lenses are not visible to minimize light trespass to beaches
- Keep it LONG– Use long wavelength light sources (Amber’s and Red’s) in the appropriate lighting fixtures
The state of Florida developed a model lighting ordinance (62B-55, F.A.C.) to guide local governments in
creating lighting ordinances. The many counties and municipalities in Florida that have passed ordinances prohibiting light from reaching the beach can be found on the Municipal Code Corporation web site.