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Beaches and the Intracoastal Waterway

Delray Beach's 2-mile long public beach is one of the city's most spectacular assets and attracts nearly 1 million visitors a year.  If you are coming to visit our beach and want information on beach conditions you can find out about health advisories from the Florida Healthy Beach Program.  We also encourage you to visit the Sandoway House and Nature Center, which is just across the street from the municipal beach. Sandoway House offers educational programs for adults and children.  See the links below for details.

Caring for and enhancing the beach's geomorphology and marine systems is important both in terms of environmental protection and increasing the resiliency of barrier island communities from coastal storm hazards. The City of Delray Beach has an active beach management program to address erosion and preserve dunes and their vegetation, which are critical to the health of the shoreline. For information on programs and policies relating protection of coastal assets, see the Coastal Element of the Comprehensive Plan.  

Delray Beach also has an active Turtle Protection Program. From March 1 until October 31, we ask beach property owners to help make the beaches hospitable to nesting turtles and their hatchlings.  All beach property owners are asked to take beach chairs and cabanas off the beach at night, or move them to the very foot of the dune so as not to create obstacles for pregnant turtles searching for a nest site.

Secondly, it is critical that no light sources are visible from the beach, as the light disorients baby turtles trying to return to the ocean waters.  Property owners are asked to change light bulbs to an LED amber or red colored wavelength, which turtles don't sense. Lighting fixtures should direct lighting downward and shield any point light sources that may be visible from the beach, which include outdoor patio or balcony lights. Uplights that illuminate palm trees or facades should be turned amber or turned off.  We also try to eliminate visiable indoor lights from a window or sliding door, asking owners to draw shades close.

Periodic surveys are conducted along the beach at night and violators can be cited by the City's Code Enforcement Department. For additional information on Florida's Turtle Protection program visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website or read the Sea Turtle Friendly Lighting Policy analysis conducted by the Conservation Clinic at the University of Florida's Levin College of Law.  Specific information on acceptable lighting along the beach can be found here.

The Department assists in general coastal issues including:

  • Providing access to aerials containing locations of current Coastal Construction Lines;

  • Information on agency locations and contacts dealing with coastal wildlife or coastal ecosystems;

  • Information on ongoing dune restoration and sea turtle monitoring projects; and

  • Information with respect to coastal lighting issues.

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