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.
Middle: Pat, John and Marie had a nice surprise with a crawl just south WW#5. It was another textbook tidy crawl with dark sand indicating digging. This turtle had flipper “Vs” in her crawl that went both directions which made it confusing to judge incoming/outgoing by that alone. Pat, probing up the middle of the […]
Hobcaw: Susan and Lourdes found a textbook crawl/nest laid high enough on the beach even with these full moon tides! The turtle came in on a rising tide with tracks even in length. Susan said after a few instructions Lourdes easily found the egg chamber. Congratulations to Lourdes for finding her first nest and Hobcaw’s […]
Middle: Walter found a crawl 200 yds. north of WW# 6. Bob B. was walking the North with Ingrid and Tom so Betsy sent him to the Middle. Walter supervised as Bob did a complete job of finding chamber, taking DNA sample, removing eggs, transporting and picking a new site. The new nest of 138 […]
The state has a total of 66 nests so far. Here at DeBordieu & Hobcaw, we are patiently awaiting our first crawl. Volunteers are faithfully surveying the 6 miles of beach for activity. Hobcaw: SCDNR has posted ‘No Dogs Allowed’ signs on the south end of the beach near #8 mile marker where there is […]
Today was the first day of surveys for our volunteers. There has been nesting to our north and south so it is just a matter of time before we have our first crawl. There are a total of 7 nests in SC.
Kiawah Island had the first loggerhead nest today, the earliest yet since records have been kept. May 1 is the usual start to the nesting season. And…Hilton Head Island had a rare nesting of a Kemps ridley turtle today! These turtles nest during the day which is a real treat for photographers who aren’t […]
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.