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.
DEB01 relocated dated 5/13 located south WW#4 Turtle Talk: PaulaTeam: Beth, Maribeth, Donna, Pat S., Bob B. Hatch success: 36% This large nest of 155 eggs had 17 crushed by female as she filled chamber and eggs spilled out when she laid the nest. Cleaning eggs is difficult with this many broken and the yolk […]
WHEW…we are having lots of turtle activity of all varieties around the clock! North: Pat O., Buffie and Mark found the major hatch of natural DEB03 south #14mm at Prince George with about 70 tracks counted! Judie E. will inventory this nest Saturday morning. Pat and team also found a fresh tidy turtle crawl north […]
We are happy to report that Buffie and Mark DuPuis are now officially certified! They have really been diligent about walking all 3 beaches with different volunteers, gleaning much knowledge from each. Buffie, originally from Atlanta and Mark, from Chicago, met at UCLA where they were both studying pathology. Their careers took them to Atlanta […]
Celebration Party: The volunteers celebrated the record breaking nesting season with a party last night. The champagne flowed, toasts were made, wonderful appetizers devoured and some volunteers got to actually meet each other in person! North: Beth, Lourdes and Anita had a concise crawl north #14mm at Prince George. Lourdes probed and quickly found the […]
North: Mark and Buffie were checking nests in front of their Prince George house around 11:15 last night and found a loggerhead returning to the ocean after nesting! This morning, Tom and Bob C. found the crawl. Bob did a good job locating the chamber:) DEB55 natural south #13mm Middle: We will inventory both of […]
The turtles are now coming and going with 3 nests today and the hatch of our first 2 nests! North: Judy K., Maribeth and Haden had 2 crawls: DEB54 natural south #14mm This was the return of ‘Barnacle Betty’ (last laid 7/1 and has distinctive scrape up her crawl). Haden located her egg chamber…Yay! DEBFC29 […]
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.