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.
North: It was a surprise at 6:30 tonight to get a text from Mark and Buffie with photos of fresh-looking tracks near their house at Prince George! Apparently there was a daytime nester that went unnoticed and successfully laid north #13mm. Betsy called Kathi A. to see if she would go work with Buffie and […]
North: In keeping with this season’s almost daily activity, Peggy called in a crawl south #10mm! She and former homeowner, Karen, walked on to the inlet while Betsy biked to the crawl for training. Peggy, who is working on her certification, determined incoming/outgoing tracks which had a big difference in length. This was a tidy […]
We took a look back at our best season (2013) to see how nesting compares. By this date then, we had no nests. The season in ’13 ended with 108 nests (DEB 37/HOB 71)! Could be a big year Hobcaw: Kathi A. had Bob B. walking with her this morning. They had 2 crawls that […]
This has all the makings of a big season because there seems to be activity daily! North: Beth and Pat St. found a promising crawl and body pit just south #12mm near Prince George. Pat had forgotten her cue so Beth did the probing, located a soft area and Pat took it from there! She […]
Hobcaw: Steven had a false crawl this morning close to Brandie’s yesterday. It was 43 yds. south #13mm and is likely the same turtle. This time she tried to climb high on the dune. The problem here is that it is all soft sand and she cannot form her chamber without it caving in. Steven […]
North: Judy K. and Maribeth, walking the North, ran into Buffie and Mark. They reported a crawl just south of the last Prince George house. The 4 walked back and found there were 2 crawls! Judy was training Maribeth and they worked on a crawl 24 yds. south #14mm that was a meandering crawl at […]
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.