Welcome to DeBordieu & Hobcaw S.C.U.T.E.
S.C.U.T.E. is a volunteer organization under the direction of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. We are dedicated to the preservation of sea turtles along the South Carolina coast. Click below or scroll down to our view mission to learn more
How you Can Help
There are many ways you can help in the conservation of South Carolina sea turtles. Simply educating yourself is the most important contribution you can make
S.C.U.T.E. depends on our volunteers! We’re always looking for enthusiastic and dedicated volunteers. If your interested in learning more then click below.
Meet the Crew
We work hard to ensure the safety of threatened loggerhead sea turtles along the South Carolina Coast. Meet some of the S.C.U.T.E. volunteers at DeBordieu & Hobcaw beaches to see what we do.
Loggerhead sea turtles (Caretta caretta) nest on South Carolina beaches May through October. S.C.U.T.E., which stands for South Carolina United Turtle Enthusiasts, is one of 31 volunteer sea turtle protection projects along our coastline under the direction of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources. The 60 mile S.C.U.T.E. area stretches from North Inlet in Georgetown County to North Myrtle Beach in Horry County. DeBordieu and Hobcaw beaches typically account for 40-50% of the nests in this area.
Volunteers walk at sunrise during nesting season looking for the large turtle tracks leading from the ocean to the dunes and back. When tracks are found, clues are used to determine the nest area. Using pool cues or T bars, volunteers probe the sand to locate the soft area of the egg chamber. An average nest of 120 ping pong size eggs may need to be moved if the clutch is laid below the spring tide line or in the scarp of a dune. Nests are covered with a plastic mesh, staked to protect it from predators and a sign is posted with the nesting date.
At about 50 days of incubation, volunteers begin to look for a depression in the nest indicating hatching activity beneath. When a nest hatches, usually at about 55-60 days, hatchlings make a mad dash to the ocean following the phosphorescence of the waves as long as they are not lead astray by onshore lighting.
When a nest hatches, SCDNR requires us to wait 3 nights so as to give all hatchlings a chance to exit the nest. We then conduct a nest inventory and dig out the contents to determine the success of the nest. Inventory date, time and location are posted on the website. At the inventory, a volunteer tells visitors about the procedure and printed information is handed out. The nest contents are dug out and data is recorded. Sometimes live hatchlings are found in the nest that were not able to emerge on their own. Volunteers put the hatchlings on the beach and let them crawl to the ocean and ‘imprint’. At maturity, 25-30 years, female loggerheads will generally return to the beach of their birth to nest. However, recent DNA studies show some turtles will nest many miles from where they hatched.
Peace Sotheby’s International Realty kindly sponsors DeBordieu & Hobcaw S.C.U.T.E. Follow us here on the DeBordieu & Hobcaw S.C.U.T.E. website to stay informed with the latest news. You can also find links, references, photos and learn about the SC Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital.
This morning’s wild storm caught everyone by surprise! All our volunteers were already on the beach, got caught in the storm but are thankfully safe. North: Judie E. was able to cover the North, finding one crawl just north #12mm. This was a classic body pit on the rise of the dune. She was able […]
With 19 nests this week here at DEB/HOB and 1000 nests for SC, we appear to be in the peak nesting period. Typically for SC, it is the last week of June/first week of July. Since nesting began earlier this year, the peak is earlier. Here, our second best year was in ’17 with a […]
North: Frankie, Donna and Peggy had 2 crawls this morning. There was a U turn false crawl: DEBFC11 north #16mm at Prince George They also had a crawl north #9mm where the turtle went up on the dune in vegetation. From the photos they sent, it appeared to be a false crawl with no obvious […]
North: Last night while Betsy was having dinner with a friend at the Gazebo, she got a call from DeBordieu Security around 7:45. A turtle had been spotted digging her nest in Ocean Park in front of the last house. The two got there quickly and saw the turtle beginning to cover her nest. As […]
Hobcaw: Martha had the only activity this beautiful morning with 2 crawls which she turned into 2 nests!HOB32 natural south #9mm HOB33 natural south #6mm Certification: Congratulations to Jane Cooper for earning her SCDNR certification! A 3 year volunteer, Jane did not get much practice in 2018 due to low nesting numbers but welcomed the […]
North: Tom found a crawl north #16mm near the groin which could have been the same turtle as Sunday’s false crawl. The turtle found a good nesting spot and Tom located the egg chamber. DEB31 natural north #16mm at Prince George Middle: Walter was joined by Haden this morning. They found a crawl south of […]
Want to learn More?
DNR & Other Resources
S.C.U.T.E. is a volunteer turtle protection project under the direction of the South Carolina Department
of Natural Resources. Click below to learn more about DNR along with other affiliates such as the SC Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital.
Serving the Community
We take pride in serving the DeBordieu & Hobcow community. From morning beach walks to live inventories, our passion is to inform the public
You can Make a Difference
Want to help? You can make a donation through the South Carolina Aquarium’s Sea Turtle Hospital.