Sea turtle washed up in Milford is 4th killed by boat strikes

A fourth sea turtle has been killed by a boat strike in Long Island Sound – the third such incident in the Milford/Stratford area this summer.

A three-foot loggerhead turtle was found on Friday, Sept. 21, washed up at Silver Sands State Park, the apparent victim of an encounter with a boat propeller, according to officials at the Maritime Aquarium.

This was the fourth loggerhead in the Sound killed by boats this summer – an unusually high number, aquarium officials said. The others were found on Long Beach in Stratford July 15 and Aug. 29, and on Norwalk’s Sheffield Island Aug. 9.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk again is urging boaters to slow down and watch for these endangered animals.

“It’s frustrating to keep having to say this, but we urge boaters to be aware that sea turtles are in the Sound at this time of year and thus to watch where they’re going,” said Dr. David Hudson, research scientist for The Maritime Aquarium.

Hudson recommended that boaters reduce their speeds, especially in comparatively shallower waters and anywhere near sea grasses, where some turtles feed. He discouraged the use of autopilot, and encouraged assigning a passenger to serve as a spotter.

Sea turtles are most vulnerable to boat collisions when they come to the surface to breathe and/or warm themselves in the sun. At the surface, Hudson said, the turtles are least able to make avoidance maneuvers.

If a boat strike occurs, or if an injured or dead turtle is found, boaters should call Mystic Aquarium, which is the federally designated responder to marine mammal and sea turtles strandings and entanglements in Connecticut. The number is 860-572-5955, ext. 107.