All Ride with Patrol programs, including Ride with Night Patrol and Ride with Dawn Patrol, have been canceled for the 2020 season in response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).


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DESCRIPTION: The Georgia Sea Turtle Center’s (GSTC) Ride with Night Patrol program offers participants the unique opportunity to be a sea turtle biologist for one night by participating in Jekyll Island’s sea turtle monitoring project alongside experienced sea turtle biologists. The evening will be spent patrolling Jekyll Island’s beaches on all-terrain vehicles in search of nesting loggerhead sea turtles. If and when a turtle is encountered, participants will have the chance to apply some of their newly-acquired skills by assisting with research efforts, making for a truly inspiring experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

COST: $150 per person plus tax (10% per person for GSTC members and Sea Turtle Camp kids)

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: Maximum of 4

PROGRAM DATES: June through July. Reservations must be made at least 72 hours prior to your program.

DURATION: Up to 5 hours.  Participants will have the option of staying out on the beach until 2 A.M. Our research biologists are prepared to accommodate participants during this entire time.

LOCATION: Participants will meet the patrol staff at Great Dunes Pavilion. Please bring your receipt or email to confirm your reserved seat.

MEETING TIME: 8:30 PM. Patrol starts promptly at 8:45 PM.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS: Must be able to walk at least 4 miles and up to 8 miles. Tolerance of hot, humid, buggy and windy conditions is required.

AGE LIMIT: Participants must be at least 6 years old. Must be able to walk long distances and stay up during the night. All minors under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult.

PROPER ATTIRE: Weather on the beach can vary from being hot and humid to windy and chilly. Additionally, biting insects have the potential to be present in large numbers. For these reasons, we recommended that participants wear comfortable layered clothing, including a short-sleeved shirt, light jacket, pants, and closed-toed shoes. In case of inclement weather, participants may also want to bring a rain jacket. Our staff usually wears light-weight breathable long-sleeve shirts and pants with a wind breaker.

PROVIDED ITEMS:
To ensure an enjoyable experience, a few items may be lent to guests. These items include:

  • Headlamps with sea turtle friendly red light (for participants over 15 years old)
  • Insect repellent
  • Blankets
  • Sea turtle patrol vests

SUGGESTED ITEMS:
Participants are encouraged to bring the following:

  • Water (at least 2 liters)
  • Food (we recommend bringing a lot of snacks to eat throughout the night)
  • Jacket or rain coat (we do not stop patrolling if it rains)

APPROVED ACTIVITIES:
If a sea turtle is encountered, participants will be allowed to do the following:

  • Count eggs as they are deposited into the egg chamber
  • Take habitat measurements, such as the distance from the nest to water line
  • Take notes on our datasheets
  • Record the GPS location of false crawls and nests
  • Mark the egg chamber using string and flagging tape

UNAPPROVED ACTIVITIES:
Performing the following activities during patrol is grounds for immediate dismissal with no refund:

  • Unauthorized handling or harassment of sea turtles
  • Operate the vehicles at any given time
  • Taking photos. Limited photography may be performed by our permit-holding researchers.

GETTING TO THE GREAT DUNES PAVILION TO MEET PATROL:

 The Great Dunes Pavilion is located on Beachview Drive just north of the Convention Center. 

Directions: As you are coming onto Jekyll Island from the Downing-Musgrove Causeway, continue straight until you get to the traffic circle by the gas station. In the traffic circle, take the 3rd exit (the equivalent of a left turn), which will put you on Beachview Drive heading north. Almost immediately after exiting the traffic circle you will pass the Convention Center entrance which has an electronic sign. A minute or so later you will see signs on your right for Great Dunes Park. Turn right into the parking lot and look for the large open-air pavilion next to a set of bathrooms (see photo inset on map). The patrol team will meet you there in a UTV labeled with the Jekyll Island Authority logo, so it will be very recognizable. If you are lost or running late, please call the GSTC gift shop at 912-635-4043. The patrol vehicles will depart on time at 8:45 PM.


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LIABILITY:

  • Participants are expected to be in good physical shape to complete the tasks required of sea turtle biologists. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is not responsible for any injury or complication that arises during physical exertion.
  • Vehicle safety will be discussed prior to entering any vehicle. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is not responsible for injuries that occur due to inappropriate behavior or disregard for rules.
  • Sea turtles have powerful jaws that have the potential to inflict bodily harm. Participants will be taught how to behave while working on a sea turtle. The Georgia Sea Turtle Center is not responsible for any injuries that occur due to disregard for the rules set forth.

GUARANTEE: Although the Ride with Night Patrol program is only offered during peak nesting periods, the Georgia Sea Turtle Center does not guarantee that participants will observe a sea turtle while participating in the program. This research involves observing wild sea turtles and researchers have no control over nesting activity. Sea turtle nesting is influenced by many factors and is dependent on the behavior of female turtles. As such, no predictions or guarantees can be made concerning the appearance of sea turtles on Jekyll Island beaches.

CANCELLATION POLICY:

  1. The Ride with Night Patrol program will not be cancelled in the event of poor or inclement weather. Exceptions may occur in certain circumstances when conditions are not safe, such as sustained lightning or a tropical storm. Unless GSTC staff notifies participants of a cancellation, the program will continue as scheduled. If a cancellation is made based on unsafe weather conditions, participants will be notified of the changes as soon as possible. Participants will be offered an opportunity for a full refund or to reschedule.
  2. If we think weather conditions may change in 30 min (i.e., a storm that poses no threat to human safety), we will wait in a safe location and re-evaluate after some time has passed. If the situation continues, participants will be offered an opportunity for a full refund or to reschedule.
  3. If a participant spends less than 1 hour in the field due to cancellation caused by unsafe weather or some other unforeseen circumstance, they will be offered a 50% refund or a chance to reschedule at half-price.
  4. If a participant spends more than 1 hour in the field, they will not be offered a refund in the event of unsafe weather or some other unforeseen circumstance.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT US:
EMAIL: gstcreservations@jekyllisland.com
PHONE: (912) 635-4141

*Ride with Night Patrol is available during June and July, with the exception of July 4. Booking availability is tide-dependent.

Please note, reservations are not secure until payment is processed.