Friends of South Walton Sea Turtles (FOSWST)

Newsletter - May 2024

Although, the (VBA) Volunteer Beach Ambassador's duties have NOT changed from what we did in 2023 when greeting visitors on our beaches. However, this year we are asking all VBAs to come in for a brief presentation about our roles in Walton County.

We have lined up speakers from the Walton County Fire District (WCFD) to talk about Beach Operations & Safely. Also, we have representatives from Code Compliance that will address Codes, and a rep from the Walton County Sheriff's Office (WCSO). The former paid Beach Ambassadors have been renamed Beach Citizen Service Officers (BCSO) and they are now part of WCSO.

Please register for one of the VBA renewal sessions listed below. Our first renewal session was well attended, and VBAs found the speakers to be very informative on their subject matter.

A more in-dept training session for new VBAs will be held preceding the renewal training.

We look forward to seeing you!

To Register

PLEASE Click the + Sign and indicate the number attending and Click > Continue


Thursday, May 9th 1:00-3:00 PM

Saturday, May 18th, 10:00-10:30AM

Saturday, May 25th, 10:00-10:30AM


Saturday, May 18th, 9:30-10:30 AM

Saturday, May 25th, 9:30-10:30 AM

As our beautiful coastal waters start to warm up, its essential to keep an eye out for jellyfish. In addition to jellies, we will highlight the Blue Dragon slugs, which prey on jellyfish, and have also started showing up in our waters! These fascinating creatures can be both beautiful and dangerous, so it's crucial to know how to identify them and what to do if you encounter one. Keep reading and we'll explore some of the most common types of jellyfish you might come across this summer, including the pink meanie, moon jelly, and man-o-war. We'll also discuss how sea turtles play a vital role in keeping the jellyfish population in check.

The Blue Dragon

The Blue Dragon, or Glaucus atlanticus, is a stunningly beautiful but highly venomous species of sea slug that preys on jellyfish. The blue dragons sail on the surface of the ocean feeding on toxins from the Portuguese Man O' War and other jellyfish-like organisms. The Man O' War have stinging cells that can be very painful to humans, which the blue dragons siphon and take for themselves. As such, blue dragons can be significantly more dangerous than the Portuguese Man O' War, so many beach officials have warned swimmers about both creatures. Blue dragons spend most of their time upside down, exposing their bright blue bellies to camouflage themselves in the ocean. They only grow up to 3 centimeters long (1.5") and are kept aloft by storing air bubbles in their stomach. So, keep an eye out for them during your beach adventures; admire these creatures from a distance and avoid touching them to prevent any harm. If you’re at the beach and spot a Blue Dragon, it’s wise to keep clear and inform others to do the same. The pain from their sting can last up to 5 hours, and it is intense and feels like needles scrapping across your skin.

The Pink Meanie

The pink meanie jellyfish, also known as Drymonema dalmatinum, is a strikingly beautiful species with a pinkish-purple bell and long tentacles. Despite its lovely appearance, the pink meanie is a carnivorous jellyfish that preys on other jellyfish species.

This jellyfish can deliver a painful sting to humans, so it's essential to avoid any contact with them if you spot one in the water.

Portuguese Man o' War

The Portuguese man o' war, also known as Physalia physalis, is not actually a jellyfish but a colony of organisms called siphonophores. This marine creature has long tentacles that can deliver a powerful and painful sting to humans.

 If you see a man o' war in the water, it's best to steer clear and avoid any contact with them to prevent getting stung.

Moon Jelly

Moon jellyfish, or Aurelia aurita, are one of the most common jellyfish species found in oceans around the world. These translucent creatures have four horseshoe-shaped gonads, giving them their distinctive appearance.

While moon jellies have a mild sting that is not harmful to humans, it's still a good idea to steer clear of them to avoid any potential discomfort.

The Role of Our Sea Turtles

Sea turtles play a crucial role in keeping the jellyfish population in check. Our Sea Turtles feed on jellyfish as part of their diet, helping to control the numbers of these creatures in the ocean. By maintaining a healthy balance in the Ecosystem, Sea Turtles help prevent jellyfish from overpopulating and becoming a nuisance to swimmers and other marine life. We love our Leatherback Sea Turtles, who will eat up to 73% of its mass weigh in jellyfish.

Even with the help of our Sea Turtles, we must always be cautious of what the tide can bring in while visiting the beach. With this information, we hope you can now more easily spot these marine creatures and understand how to respond if you encounter one.

Remember to always observe marine creatures from a safe distance! Stay safe, enjoy the beach, and remember to help keep our beaches #CleanDarkFlat this Summer!


VBAs are no longer allowed to use their Blue whistles on the beach.

We're excited to see our VBA's gear up to hit the beaches for the 2024 season! With beach walking, educational & community events on the calendar it's so important to our organization for all volunteers to please keep track of all of your VBA hours!



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