Turtle Lights

The rapid adoption of electric lighting throughout the 20th century has not only brought cities to life at night, it has greatly impacted the circadian rhythms of both humans and the rest of the animal kingdom. 

Astronomers first raised the alarm and established the International Dark Sky Association to combat light pollution. In accordance with the DarkSky Association Guidelines, LIGMAN has a range of DarkSky approved luminaires which meet their strict criteria for protection of the night environment. 

Environmental agencies have also recognised specific cases where additional measures are required to protect vulnerable wildlife. One such example is coastal areas where migratory sea turtles visit and nest each year. 

Turtle Friendly Lighting

The incorrect lighting at beach front developments can prevent sea turtles from nesting or baby turtles from safely reaching the ocean. 

As more of the coast is developed, there are fewer places where sea turtles can nest undisturbed by human development and activity. Turtle safe lighting is one of many steps that developers can take to improve the survival rates of sea turtles. 

What is Turtle Safe Lighting?

As it is not practical to eliminate artificial lighting completely, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) have developed a series of guidelines and recommendations to assist lighting designers and engineers, make informed decisions when specifying light fittings for impacted developments.

Keep it LOW: mount the fixture as low to the ground as possible and use the lowest wattage necessary for the needed purpose. 

Light sources mounted lower to the ground ensure the light doesn’t travel as far and reduces the impact on its surroundings. 

The lower wattages and therefore lumen output provide the minimum amount of light needed for human movement and safety. It isn’t necessary to light up the coastal environment, as doing so will disturb the natural migration patterns of the sea turtles. 
Keep it LONG: use long wavelength (greater than 560 nm) light sources such as amber, orange, and red LEDs. 

Short wavelength (blue) light sources have been proven to impact the circadian rhythms of people. If you want a good nights sleep, it is important to reduce exposure to blue light sources in the evenings and before going to bed. The same is true of wildlife who navigate their environment in accordance with the natural day night cycle.

So eliminating light sources below 560 nm reduces the influence of artificial lighting on the natural environment and is required for an installation to have turtle friendly lighting. 
Keep it SHIELDED: use fixtures that meet or exceed full cutoff that shield lamps or glowing lenses from being directly visible.

As stipulated in the DarkSky association guidelines, luminaires providing full cutoff or shielded light sources dramatically reduce light pollution. Light pollution being defined as any unwanted or unnecessary artificial lighting. 

Preventing spill light from reaching the beach helps to keep the environment dark and free of artificial lighting that might disturb sea turtle behaviour. Or for that matter any other coastal wildlife in the area. 

Turtle Friendly Exterior Lights

Just as LIGMAN has a range of DarkSky approved luminaires and nature friendly lights, the range of Turtle Friendly Exterior light fittings have been specifically developed for coastal developments where turtles annually migrate. 

How can you know if a luminaire from LIGMAN is a suitable turtle safe light fixture? Products designated with the Turtle Friendly Lighting symbol are available in a turtle safe lighting version. 

Each and every Turtle Friendly light fixture in the LIGMAN catalogue is certified to have a light source which only produces light in accordance with the FWC guidelines. That being it only produces light above the 560 nm wavelength (amber, orange, red) range of the visible spectrum.

Turtle Safe Lighting 

Due to the variable nature of the FWC guidelines, specifically the height of the light source and whether the light source is shielded, it is not possible to simply specify a turtle friendly light fixture and hope for the best. 

LIGMAN can however guarantee that their Turtle Friendly exterior lights have light sources that only produce light above the 560 nm wavelength. 

As lighting designers and lighting engineers, it is therefore important to work in accordance with local lighting recommendations for standard compliance. As is the case with all lighting installations. But also in accordance with the FWC Sea Turtle Lighting Guidelines to ensure that lighting to coastal developments in protected areas does not detrimentally impact the local ecosystem.

If you would like to learn more about LIGMAN’s Turtle Friendly Lighting, you can read more about the FWC guidelines here and see the range of approved luminaires here


What is Turtle Friendly Lighting?

Turtle Friendly Lighting is lighting designed to minimise the impact of artificial lighting of coastal developments on sea turtle nesting and behaviour. 

What is the FWC?

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Does LIGMAN have a range of turtle friendly light fixtures?

Yes, you can see the entire range of turtle friendly exterior lights here

What makes Turtle Friendly exterior lights safe for turtles?

Turtle light fixtures only produce light above 560 nm in the wavelength of the visible spectrum

How is turtle safe lighting different from DarkSky approved lighting?

Turtle safe lighting has additional criteria specific to coastal developments and sea turtle migration – specifically low height, long wavelengths, shielded sources. 

Why is turtle safe lighting important?

Are more of the coast line is developed, there are fewer undisturbed places for sea turtles to nest and migrate. Turtle safe lighting is one way to preserve these creatures and prevent their extinction.

How can I know if I fitting from LIGMAN is a turtle light fixture?

Turtle Friendly exterior lights from LIGMAN have a designation in the catalogue indicating a turtle safe lighting version is available.

Where can I find out more about turtle friendly lighting and the FWC guidelines?

LIGMAN have a page dedicated to turtle friendly lighting and the FWC guidelines here.

If I use turtle light fixtures will my installation have turtle safe lighting?

Not necessarily. It is important to follow local guidelines and those set out my the FWC to ensure your installation is considered turtle safe. LIGMAN can however guarantee that their turtle friendly exterior lights only produce light above 560 nm (amber, orange, red).