Turtle safety forefront of Onslow beach sign project

Published on Thursday, 17 February 2022 at 8:00:00 AM

Shire of Ashburton Ranger Services, in collaboration with the Chevron Sea Rangers have recently installed informational and directional signs along Back Beach in Onslow to educate beach users of driving permissions.

This initiative was completed after several turtle nests were destroyed by vehicles driven above the high tide mark, alerting the need for education and direction.

Community members and tourists who use the beach are asked to drive on the hard sand as close to the water’s edge as possible. This will eliminate the risk of driving over turtle nests or leaving tyre tracks which can confuse hatchlings.

The new directional signs clearly indicate to all beachgoers where they are able to drive. If the tide is high and there is no hard sand to drive on, beachgoers are advised to refrain from driving and instead walk along the beach.

Shire of Ashburton President Kerry White said residents must remember to take necessary precautions during nesting season.  

“Residents are reminded that nesting turtles are best observed from a distance as they can be timid and easily disturbed,” she said.

“Our new signage acts as a reminder that when driving on beaches where vehicles are permitted, only drive on the hard sand below the high-tide mark to avoid interfering with turtle nests.

“If you do come across hatchlings making their way to the ocean, let them make their own way and be sure to reduce the use of artificial lights such as torches or flash photography to minimise the risk of them becoming disorientated.”

Signs were also installed at the Onslow Salt Jetty and the Front Beach Groyne reminding the community that driving between these two points in any vehicle is forbidden at all times of the year.

Chevron Australia Lead Sea Ranger Co-ordinator Brian Hayes said the rangers were passionate about protecting the local environment around Onslow.

“The Chevron Sea Rangers are proud to play a role in protecting an important species to the area, and to continue sharing our knowledge with the local community,” he said.

For more information, contact Western Sector Ranger Hamish James via [email protected]

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