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Outdoor Lighting Regulation in Florida

In Florida, there are a variety of regulations and guidelines relating to outdoor lighting to consider. Some of these laws aim to preserve the natural environment, particularly for sea turtles, which can become disoriented by excessive or improper lighting. Others are meant to reduce light pollution and conserve energy.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has established guidelines for outdoor lighting to protect sea turtles. These regulations are particularly relevant in coastal areas where sea turtles nest. Sea turtles are highly sensitive to artificial light, which can disorient them and disrupt their nesting and hatching processes.r dapibus leo.

The FWC's sea turtle lighting guidelines include the following principles:

1. Keep It Low

The fixtures should be installed as low to the ground as possible, and the wattage of the bulb should be as low as feasible. This helps to keep the illumination subtle and avoid spilling over to the beach. Low-profile light fixtures and those shielded by landscaping can help achieve this.

2. Keep It Long

Use long-wavelength lights, which are less disruptive to sea turtles. Red and amber lights are less likely to disorient turtles than white or blue ones. LED lights are recommended because they are available in longer wavelengths (560 nm or longer, such as amber or red), are energy efficient, and have a longer life span.

3. Keep It Shielded

The light source should be shielded so it is not directly visible from the beach. Fixtures should be properly shielded, tilted downward, and aimed so that the light is cast downward and not toward the beach. This helps limit the illumination area and keep the light out of the turtles’ line of sight. LED lights are recommended because they are available in longer wavelengths (560 nm or longer, such as amber or red), are energy efficient, and have a longer life span.

4. Avoid Unnecessary Lighting

Turn off unnecessary lights. Lights not needed for safety or security should be turned off during turtle nesting season. Using timers, motion detectors, or manually turning off lights when not in use can help achieve this.

5. Close curtains or blinds

For indoor lighting that can be seen from the beach, use window treatments to prevent light from spilling outside.

6. Use turtle-friendly fixtures

In some areas, there might be a requirement to use certified wildlife lighting fixtures that are designed to be less disruptive to sea turtles.

Before installing outdoor lighting in a turtle nesting area, it is crucial to check with local authorities to ensure your lighting plan complies with all relevant rules and regulations. Non-compliance can lead to fines and penalties.

7. Local ordinances

Many Florida cities and counties have their ordinances that regulate outdoor lighting. These regulations can vary greatly from place to place, so it’s important to check with your local government for specific rules applicable to your area.

8. Dark Sky Communities

In some parts of Florida, communities have been recognized as “Dark Sky” places by the International Dark Sky Association. These communities have committed to reducing light pollution and have established strict lighting codes.

Before installing outdoor lighting, it’s crucial to understand the regulations that apply to your specific location. Violations could lead to fines or other penalties. Consult with a professional or your local building or environmental authority when in doubt.

Lanai Lights is pleased to offer superior Florida outdoor LED lighting that is also sea turtle friendly and safe. Sea turtles are protected by the Florida Marine Protection Act and the Federal Endangered Species Act. Sea turtle-safe lighting is mandated by local and federal law, as lights can disturb nesting sea turtles and their hatchlings. This specialty lighting fixture uses LED lights that comply with the specifications for coastal beach lighting.

Call Lanai Lights at 888-829-3888 or message us online to schedule a consultation.