Sea Turtle Sighting Hotline for Southern New England Boaters
1-888-SEA-TURT (1-888-732-8878) • Report Online

Sea Turtle Sighting Hotline • 888-732-8878

About the Hotline

The Sea Turtle Sighting Hotline for Southern New England Boaters is part of the ongoing sea turtle program at MassAudubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary. The two primary goals of the hotline are: (1) to document where and when sea turtles are seen in southern New England waters, and (2) to alert boaters that sea turtles are present in the summer and fall so that boaters will both report sightings and make efforts to avoid striking the turtles. Boaters and fishermen have become important eyes on the water for reporting sea turtles, and their reports are helping researchers know where the turtles are concentrated and when they arrive and depart in any given year, indicating trends in habitat use. The hotline data points do not represent a systematic survey, nor do they represent an accurate count of sea turtles, because multiple calls may report the same turtle.

Sea turtle sightings can be reported by phone at 1-888-Sea-Turt or online at www.seaturtlesightings.org. If the turtle is entangled or injured, in need of immediate assistance, the observer is instructed to call 800-900-3622, the Center for Coastal Studies’ Disentanglement Hotline. Otherwise, the observer is asked to provide information about the sea turtle including: date, time, location, approximate size and other physical characteristics, and any additional comments. If the observer would like to ask questions or discuss the sea turtle sighting, he/she can leave a return phone number or email address and will receive a response promptly.

leatherback turtle photo

~ Leatherback Photo by Hayley Boyd

About High Road

The Hotline project’s mission is one that High Road Marketing and Communications strongly supports. In 2009 we took over serving their original website and improved it by adding descriptions of the sea turtle species, images of free swimming turtles, and geo-mapping plots showing sightings over the years.

In 2015 we spearheaded and donated a major redesign of the website. With the increase of smart phones and other mobile devices everywhere more boaters are out on the water with them. We wanted to ensure that anyone, anywhere, on any device, can use the website both to report sightings quickly and to help identify what sea turtles they see. We ensured that the phone and online reporting were prominent no matter what device a visitor was using; and that turtle photos, which could help with identification, could be easily found and be high enough resolution to help, even on phones. We managed to meet all those criteria and still have quick load times.

As responsive design (which ensures websites work on all web enabled devices) becomes essential we have been rebuilding our client sites. Sites built to responsive standards also get better ratings in Google searches. We knew the hotline needed the upgrade for functionality and to make them easier to find and use. They exist on a shoestring budget so we decided to step up and donate this as a community (and turtle!) service.