Sea Turtle Fatalities Prompt Warning to Boaters

A loggerhead sea turtle. Photo Credits: Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary

WELLFLEET – In response to an unusually high number of sea turtle fatalities from vessel strikes in July, Mass Audubon is urging boaters to be careful and keep an eye out for the animals.

Five loggerheads were reported stranded with injuries consistent with vessel strikes.

All the turtles found were of the loggerhead species, one of four that lives in Cape waters.

Loggerheads and the other three species, leatherbacks, Kemp’s ridley, and green sea turtles, all have conservation statuses as either endangered or threatened.

The stranded turtles were found in Harwich, Pocasset, Scituate, West Falmouth, and Westport.

Vessel strikes are one of the leading causes of sea turtle mortality, due to the time the animals spend near the surface of the water.

Officials advise keeping a watchful eye when operating a vessel, and not using autopilot features which cannot detect the turtles below.

Even the strike of a smaller board can kill a sea turtle, which can range from the size of a dinner plate to nearly eight feet long around the Cape.

Any turtle sightings can be reported to or by calling 1-888-SEA-TURT (1-888-732-8878).

About Maura MacDonald

Maura recently graduated college with a degree in political science and a passion for all things media. She also enjoys writing when not in the NewsCenter, working on projects such as her novel and music, and spending time with her dog.
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