SLOW DOWN, especially in relatively shallow areas, and areas where many turtles may congregate – such as nesting beaches. In Quebec, volunteers have already created econautical charts showing sensitive areas for the threatened Spiny Softshell, suggesting particular spots where only low-impact boating, such as canoeing and kayaking, should take place.
While it would be particularly difficult to stop all boat-turtle collisions, it is not difficult at all to be more aware of the risk. Stick to marked boat channels, go slowly in shallow areas, watch for turtles along shorelines and in the water – in areas where there are many turtles, consider switching off your propeller altogether. We are only recently recognizing the impacts of boating on turtle populations, continued research and monitoring of affected populations are necessary for scientists and conservationists to determine the best methods for reducing boat mortality.
Until then – slow down and be turtle aware!