Contact: Cpl. John McDerby, Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: Feb. 16-22
Reminder for the week: Boaters urged to check gear for new season, be prepared for cold water
DOVER (Feb. 27, 2015) – 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 Natural Resources Police officers between Feb. 16-22 made 797 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, with no vessel boardings this week for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 24 complaints and issued 17 citations, five of which were related to the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail, where there is an increased Fish & Wildlife Enforcement presence.
An incident of particular note was:
· On Feb. 20, Fish & Wildlife Enforcement officers cited four teenagers for one count each of possession and/or consumption of marijuana following a traffic stop in the parking lot of the Marian R. Okie Memorial Wildlife Preserve near Massey’s Landing in Sussex County. The four teens were issued summonses to appear in court at a later date.
Citations issued by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (4), New Castle and Kent counties; Dumping on a state wildlife area (1)*, New Castle County; Damaging state property on a wildlife area (1), Kent County.
Public Safety: Excessive speed on a state wildlife area (2), New Castle and Kent counties; Lewdness (1)*, reckless driving (1), operating an unregistered vehicle (1)*, and failure to use turn signal (1), New Castle County; Operating a motor vehicle without insurance (1), Kent County; Possession/consumption of marijuana (4), Sussex County.
* These citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area. In addition, the following citations not marked with an asterisk also were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area: Excessive speed on a state wildlife area (1) and operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1).
Are you AWARE?
With boaters beginning to think spring, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Section, Office of Boating Safety and Education, reminds those headed for Delaware’s 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, and a whistle or other sound-producing device;
· Check the number and condition 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.
Wear life jackets: Boaters are encouraged to remember the importance of life jacket use. Delaware law requires that all personal watercraft (PWC) operators and all children 12 years old and younger aboard a vessel wear a life jacket while underway. The law does not require wearing a life jacket for those age 13 to adult on vessels other than PWCs; however, boat owners/operators are required to carry a life jacket for each person aboard a vessel.
Dress for cold weather: Boaters also should remember that water temperatures are cold – and 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 flotation 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.
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/Delaware_Boating_Safety.
The DNREC Division of Fish & 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 & 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. 45, No. 51