'Very excited': Volusia County beaches see record number of turtle nests; how to help protect the hatchlings

There's a record number of sea turtle nests on Central Florida's beaches, and nearly half of them are at New Smyrna Beach.

Imagine seeing thousands of baby sea turtles hatch on the beach – and try to make a safe journey to the ocean.

"We’re all very excited," said Ryan Chabot, habitat manager of Volusia County sea turtle conversation.

"Right now we have over 1.100 nests as of (Monday_, and that has already shattered our record," he said. 

Typically, around 500 nests are laid in Volusia County between May and October, experts said.

"Eleven-hundred nests, that could be potentially somewhere in the order of 80- to 100,000 hatchlings," Chabot said.

How come there are so many more nests this year?

"It can be the temperature of the water during different times of the year. It could be where they are at when forging," he said.

Unfortunately, even buried, sea turtle eggs are at risk. Some are eaten by foraging wildlife.

"They face a lot of different threats. They mostly emerge at night."

Which is why advocates encourage people to keep the lights off at night, especially if you live near the beach, to give the hatchlings a fighting chance to head to the ocean rather than the roadway.

Other ways advocates help the turtles is to knock down sand castles and fill in holes made on the beach during the day.

Groups of volunteers help monitor the hatchlings and nests.