Photo by U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet

On Thursday, March 16, the U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet was notified of a sea turtle swimming in the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry basin, adjacent to the station and the ferry terminal.

U.S. Coast Guard Station Hatteras Inlet

“Knowing that the turtle was in a dangerous location due to the high vessel traffic, the crew picked it up and brought it to the station,” stated Station Hatteras Inlet in an online update. “A volunteer from N.E.S.T. (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles) picked it up and will get to a safer location!”

Local volunteers from N.E.S.T regularly monitor the Hatteras Island shorelines after a cold spell, looking for cold-stunned sea turtles in need of assistance. The volunteers primarily search for stranded turtles along the soundside, covering private property in the villages and areas that are not routinely patrolled by the National Park Service.

As cold-blooded reptiles, sea turtles derive heat from their surroundings, and when they become too cold, their metabolism slows. This prohibits them from moving and migrating to warmer waters, and they may also drift to unsafe locations.

Once the sea turtles have been found or picked up by N.E.S.T, they are transported to the STAR (Sea Turtle Assistance and Rehabilitation) Center at the NC Aquarium on Roanoke Island.

The 2023/2023 winter season has been a busy one for the STAR Center and N.E.S.T. volunteers, as more than 200 sea turtles were rescued around the Christmas holiday alone, and an additional 37 sea turtles were rescued during a mid-January cold spell.

Temperatures are expected to drop over the weekend to the low 40s, so beachgoers and island visitors are advised to be on the lookout for stranded or disoriented sea turtles.

How You Can Help:

  • If you spot a cold-stunned sea turtle on Hatteras Island, call 252-216-6892 (National Park Service, Cape Hatteras National Seashore)
  • If you spot a cold-stunned sea turtle north of Oregon Inlet, call 252-441-8622 (Network for Endangered Sea Turtles or N.E.S.T.)
  • For more information on NEST, and to make a donation or learn about volunteer opportunities, visit
Two small green sea turtles warm up in a blue kiddie pool before being reintroduced to water in one of the STAR Center’s rehabilitation pools. Photo by the North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island.


The post Coast Guard conducts sea turtle rescue in Hatteras appeared first on Island Free Press.

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