Hole Patrol is a program that was created by our very own volunteer, Mystica.
Countless times, Mystica heard stories of sea turtles getting stranded in man made holes on the beach, and hatchlings ending up on roadways due to obstacles in their way to the ocean.
Mystica decided to do something about it.
She did her research and contacted several organizations in the area to see if there were any programs in which people walked the beach to fill in holes and flatten sandcastles left by beachgoers. To her surprise, nothing like this existed for our beach nesting sea turtle residents.
She had reached out to Boca Save our Beaches, with the idea, and the team was eager to get it started! Hole Patrol is now a part of the Boca Save our Beaches volunteer program.
Why is Hole Patrol Important?
Sea turtles have very poor vision on land. They cannot navigate their way around obstacles and holes in the dark. There have been instances where early morning beachgoers have found sea turtles stranded in man made holes unable to get out. Sadly, there have also times when the sea turtle was found too late and perished in the hole.
Sandcastles and debris left by humans act like huge roadblocks to mothers and hatchlings alike. A sea turtle will try to come onto the beach to nest a few times. If something like a sandcastle or other debris is in her way, she might turn around, go back into the ocean only to drop her eggs there and they will all perish.
Sandcastles and debris affect hatchlings trying to make their way to the ocean for the first time. These little guys struggle so much, that when they come to an obstacle, they might try to go around it which sends them off in the wrong direction never making it to the ocean.
FILL. FLATTEN. CLEAN.
How Can I Help?
Every time you go to the beach, you can remember the Hole Patrol motto - Fill. Flatten. Clean. Fill in your holes, flatten your sandcastles, and clean up your belongings you brought with you.
Stay off the beach from sunset to sunrise during nesting season. There has been an influx of people on the beaches at night, particularly on South Beach. The presence of humans on the beaches at night also deters sea turtles from nesting.
Light out for the locals. Lights from buildings and streets alike greatly affect the nesting AND hatching process. So please be mindful of the locals and keep lights to a minimum.
You can also volunteer with Hole Patrol during sea turtle nesting season which is March through October. We meet on the beaches of Boca Raton in the early evening to fill in holes, flatten sandcastles, and remove any debris that is in the direct path of a nest to the ocean. We also educate beachgoers about what we are doing and the reason behind it. For more information on this program, please contact Mystica at BSOBHolePatrol@gmail.com.