Oyster Bay Town Councilman Steve Labriola reminds residents that during these colder months, there is an increased number of sea turtles stranded on north shore beaches due to a condition called cold stunning.
“When water temperatures drop below approximately 50 degrees, sea turtles become lethargic and are unable to swim, as they are basically experiencing hypothermia,” said Councilman Labriola. “When this occurs, they can float up to the surface and become vulnerable to boat strikes or wash ashore and become stranded, which can be fatal. If you see a turtle on the shoreline, please do not put it back into the water. Instead, cover the turtle with seaweed or call the New York Marine Rescue Center.”
The Town of Oyster Bay, in partnership with the New York Marine Rescue Center, recently installed signage at north shore beaches to help educate the public about this condition. The signage also provides guidelines on what to do and what not to do if you come upon a stranded turtle.
· Move the turtle above the high tide line
· DO NOT put the turtle back in the water
· Cover the turtle with seaweed or dry wrack
· Mark the spot with a piece of beach debris or draw an arrow in the sand
· Call the NY Marine Rescue Center Hotline at (631) 369-9829.