Rescue van lowers emergency response time for sick, injured sea turtles at Port Canaveral

Sea Turtle Preservation Society keeping new rescue van at Port


PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Though military vessels, tugboats and cruise ships are populating Brevard County's waters, it’s some large marine life rescuers were paying most attention to Monday.

Port Canaveral revealed its new tool to respond to injured and sick sea turtles.

The sea turtle rescue van gets a distressed turtle on the move much faster than before. With the right nets and bins, sea turtle experts said the rescue van will cut their response time by as much as one hour.

“Sometimes we have to transport the turtle, say to SeaWorld or Gumbo Limbo. If we’re going to SeaWorld, it’s a little over an hour. If we’re going to Gumbo Limbo, we’re talking two plus hours,” Dave Cheney, with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society, said.

[MORE: Red tide is to blame for spike in sea turtle deaths in Florida watersNew net could make it easier to rescue sea turtles]

Previously, when Brevard sheriff’s deputies would retrieve a turtle from the Port channel, they’d have to call for a response vehicle to pick it up.

The Sea Turtle Preservation Society is 23 miles from the Port in Indialantic. Workers can now respond immediately from the Port parking lot.

Bob Musser, the Canaveral Port Authority’s environmental director, said the partnership with the Sea Turtle Preservation Society was planned for three years.

“So this whole system has been set up to more quickly respond to an animal that’s in need,” Musser said.

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