Contact: Lt. Douglas Messeck, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-258-4045, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: April 1-7
Reminder for the week: Take life jacket, cold water precautions for spring boating safety
DOVER (April 11, 2014) – To achieve public compliance through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC Natural Resources Police, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Agents between April 1-7 made 747 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 12 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 24 complaints and issued 12 citations, two of which were related to increased Fish and Wildlife Enforcement presence at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail currently under construction.
Incidents of particular note included:
· Jordan Baker, 22, of Seaford, was charged April 3 by Fish & Wildlife Agents with illegal possession of rockfish during closed season on the Nanticoke River. Baker was issued a citation and released pending possible fine up to $165.
· Christopher R. Lankford, 29, of Seaford, was charged April 6 with illegal possession of river herring during closed season, and issued a citation by Fish & Wildlife Agents to appear at Justice of the Peace Court #3 due to this being a second offense.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Dumping (yard waste)* (1); Littering*, (1), New Castle County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (3), New Castle and Sussex counties; Possession of river herring during closed season (1), Sussex County; Possession of rockfish during closed season (1) Sussex County; Fishing on a designated trout stream during closed season (2), New Castle County.
Public Safety: Driving with a suspended license (1) and no proof of insurance (1), New Castle County; No tidal boat ramp certificate (1), Sussex County.
* These citations were issued in connection with violations at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Are you AWARE?
With signs of spring in the air, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds early season boaters and anglers of the importance of life jackets. Statistics show that not wearing life jackets is one of the leading causes of boating fatalities in the state of Delaware as well as nationwide, and that 80 percent of these fatalities could have been prevented by life jacket use.
In Delaware, life jackets also are the law – and the law requires that owners/operators of recreational vessels carry one readily accessible life jacket for each person aboard, and that children age 12 and younger wear a life jacket while underway in any vessel on Delaware waters. (Minimum fine for violations: $76.50)
“Vessel operators are responsible to make sure that children aboard their boat are wearing life jackets – and they can set the example by also wearing one,” said Lt. Douglas Messeck of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. “Although the law does not require ages 13 and older to wear a life jacket, we strongly recommend life jacket use by everyone aboard a vessel in Delaware waters, especially anyone with limited swimming skills. It’s a smart choice that can prevent an unnecessary tragedy.”
Even on days when the air is warm, boaters also should remember that water temperatures are still cold – and immersion in cooler water can lead to hypothermia very quickly, in which the body instinctively protects its core by shutting down blood flow to limbs first. The Coast Guard recommends:
· Wear layers for protection and warmth, including gloves and a hat. Recommended gear also includes a floatation coat or survival suit, which also acts a life jacket, or a dry suit, which keeps water out and, with thermal layers beneath, keeps warmth in.
· If you fall overboard or capsize, stay with your boat for a better chance of being found sooner.
· Keep clothing on to help retain heat.
· Keep your cell phone in a secure pocket and sealed in a plastic bag.
· Carry a personal position locator beacon, a personal emergency locator light and/or flares, and a whistle to make noise and attract the attention of rescuers.
· Pack a set of dry clothing in a sealed plastic bag.
· File a “float plan” with a responsible friend or family member. Include a description of your boat, when you plan to head out, who is going with you, where you plan to go and when you plan to return.
The Enforcement Section also encourages boaters to perform a pre-departure check of their vessels, making sure they have:
· All current required licenses and registrations, including boat registration, boating safety certificate, boat ramp certificate and fishing license(s);
· Enough life jackets for everyone on board, including children; for vessels 16 feet or more in length, a throwable life preserver is also required;
· Checked the local weather forecast;
· Checked working navigation lights, steering and throttle controls;
· Checked oil, fuel and fluid levels;
· Checked for fuel leaks, including hose clamps and connections;
· Drained all water from the engine compartment or bilge, replaced and secured the bilge plug;
· A fully charged engine battery and fire extinguishers; and
· Emergency flares and a fully charged cell phone or marine radio.
For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including an easy-to-use float plan form, please visit www.fw.delaware.gov/Boating/BoatingSafety.htm.
The DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife recognizes and thanks the majority of anglers, hunters and boaters who comply with and support Delaware’s fishing, hunting and boating laws and regulations. Citizens are encouraged to report fish and wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Hunting/Pages/OpGameTheft.aspx.
Vol. 44, No. 107