The presence of sea turtles on Folly Beach is not always a welcome sight.

One of our most dreaded sightings is a stranded sea turtle — one that has come ashore, not to nest, but as the result of injury, disease, or death at sea.

Folly’s experience with strandings is duplicated all along the SC coast. The highest percentage of strandings in the state are on Charleston’s four beaches, mostly on Isle of Palms and Sullivans Island. Most strandings occur between May 1st and July 31st — the time when offshore turtle and human activities converge. The higher the human traffic, the greater the risk for sea turtles.

The loss of every sea turtle that has survived the 20-30 years to reach their sub-adult and adult life stage is significant. Not only is that individual lost, but its potential to reproduce is gone. For a threatened or endangered species, this is especially critical. As one biologist has said, “Losing an adult turtle is like losing 1,000 eggs on the beach.”


“Miss Folly Kodak”

Rescue (and photo) by Julie Jones

Miss Folly was carrying over 690 egg follicles — her hatchlings for the 2006 nesting season,
and her future reproductive life, all lost with her death from boat strike injuries.


2014 Strandings

MANY THANKS to all of you who have helped us with strandings. Some of you are Crew members (Bob, Ann & Lars, Shannon, Judi, Lisa, Linda B, CC, Betty, Judy K, Sunnie, Cindy, Sharon & Carl, Carole), but many of you are anonymous passers-by, otherwise enjoying Folly until you see the turtle and say “I’ll help” … and you do.  THANK YOU ALL.
Date Location Species Size Condition
May 14 1565 East Leatherback incomplete Badly damaged; only 1/3 of turtle stranded; boat strike evident
May 15 201 West Kemp’s Ridley 8.5″ x 8.25″ Intact, no obvious reason why dead
May late Folly Pier Loggerhead juvenile Caught by hook & line; released by Game Warden on beach
July 11 Folly Pier Kemp’s Ridley 12″ x 12″ Caught by hook & line; released on beach w/ DNR ok
July 11 Folly Pier Kemp’s Ridley 16″ x 16″ Caught by hook & line; swallowed hook; taken to Sea Turtle Hospital by DNR
July 18 Folly Boat Landing Loggerhead adult Found floating; heavy barnacle load; taken to Sea Turtle Hospital by DNR
July 18 Lighthouse Inlet Kemp’s Ridley 15″ x 15″ Boat strike across carapace


Strandings 2007
Strandings 2006
Strandings 2005
Strandings 2004
Strandings 2003
Strandings 2002
Strandings 2001
Strandings 2000

For additional information on strandings, see …