Any vessel can strike turtles and boat strikes are a common cause of injury and death among sea turtles.
Sea turtles have poor hearing and vision when out of the water. Consequently they do not hear or see boats in time to take evasive action.
Turtles may be hit when they come to the surface to breathe or bask, or whilst in shallow seagrass beds or coral reef areas when feeding or mating. The driver of the vessel may be totally unaware of a turtle’s presence.
Increased boat activity increases the likelihood of strikes. Currently about 15% of the turtles that strand on the Queensland coast in Australia show evidence of being struck by boats and/or propellers. Major areas for boat strike in Queensland include Moreton Bay near Brisbane and Cleveland Bay near Townsville.
When boating please slow down over turtle feeding areas such as seagrass beds and coral reefs.