Contact: Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-542-6102, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter March 1-8
Reminder for the week: Early spring boaters urged to check gear, be prepared for cold water
DOVER (March 8, 2013) – 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 Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement agents made 575 contacts with the public, including six boating safety checks, responded to 9 complaints and issued two citations between March 1 and 8. Items of particular note included:
· On March 1, a trail camera was returned to its owners after Fish and Wildlife agents located a group of juvenile suspects who had stolen the camera. The camera’s owner declined to press charges, satisfied that the agents had given the juveniles a strong verbal warning.
Citations issued by violation type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Other: Criminal impersonation (1) and littering (1), Kent County.
To maintain a high level of law enforcement professionalism, Fish and Wildlife Enforcement agents attended two days of training on March 5 and 6 that included re-certification in First Aid, CPR and use of AEDs, Fish and Wildlife regulation updates, and safety instruction on handling methamphetamine lab materials. Also, on March 1, AFC Oran White completed the month-long Marine Law Enforcement Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Glynco, Ga.
Are you AWARE?
With boaters eagerly planning for spring, the Delaware Office of Boating Safety reminds those headed for the waterways to be prepared before trailering up:
· Take a boating safety class – visit Delaware_Boating_Safety for more information;
· Renew your boat registration and check your trailer registration to make sure it is current;
· Check and replenish if necessary all emergency supplies including flares, marine radio, working fire extinguisher, whistle or sound producing device;
· Check the number of life jackets on board;
· Check the engine, fuel tank, lines and hose connections for leaks;
· Check oil, gas and fluid levels;
· Make sure hose clamps and battery connections are tight;
· Make sure steering and throttle controls, lights and carburetor are in working order;
· Make sure you have a fully charged battery;
· Make sure you have an anchor with attached chain or rope in appropriate length for water depth;
· Check weather forecast;
· Dress for the weather; and
· File a “float plan” with a responsible friend or family member, including 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.
“Filing a float plan is always a good idea, because unforeseen circumstances can hit boaters in any season at any time, including a storm, engine problems, swamping and injuries or other health issues,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Delaware Boating Safety Officer. “With your plans in hand, a friend or family member can call for help if you’re overdue and tell searchers where to begin looking for you, saving precious time.”
Wear life jackets: Boaters are encouraged to remember the importance of lifejacket use. Delaware law requires that all personal watercraft operators and all children 12 years old and younger aboard a vessel wear a lifejacket while underway. The law does not require wearing a life jacket for those age 13 to adult. However, boat owners/operators are required to carry a life jacket for each person aboard a vessel.
“Statistics show that one of the leading causes of boating fatalities both in the State of Delaware and nationwide is not wearing a life jacket. According to the U.S. Coast Guard, 80 percent of boating accident fatalities would not have occurred if the victim had been wearing a life jacket,” said Sgt. Rhodes. “With numbers like this, we strongly recommend that everyone aboard a vessel in Delaware waters wear a life jacket, especially non-swimmers. It’s a smart choice that can prevent an unnecessary tragedy.”
Dress for cold weather: Boaters also should remember that water temperatures are cold – currently less than 40 degrees, Sgt. Rhodes said, noting that immersion in cold water can lead to hypothermia very quickly, in which the body instinctively protects its core by shutting down limbs first. To be better prepared for the possibility of ending up in cold water, the Coast Guard recommends the following gear:
· Wear a floatation coat or a survival suit for warmth and to act as a life jacket;
· For intentional entry into the water, wear a dry suit, which keeps water out and, with thermal layers beneath, keeps warmth in;
· 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; and
· Wear layers for maximum protection and warmth, including gloves and a hat.
Sgt. Rhodes added these tips:
· 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;
· Pack a set of dry clothing in a sealed plastic bag; and
· Keep your cell phone in a secure pocket and sealed in a plastic bag.
For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including an easy-to-use float plan form, please visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/fw/Boating/Pages/Delaware_Boating_Safety.
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. 43, No. 84