Contact: Lt. Carl Winckoski, Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement, 302-739-9913 or 302-542-2115, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Enforcement Blotter: Sept. 2-8
Reminder for week: Boaters, jet ski operators reminded to wear engine shut off safety lanyard
DOVER (Sept. 12, 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 Sept. 2-8 made 918 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 143 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Agents responded to 38 complaints and issued 24 citations, two of which 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.
An incident of particular note was:
· Fish and Wildlife agents are investigating a boating accident that occurred Sept. 2 on Red Mill Pond north of Lewes, in which a boater suffered cuts on the head and arms after falling overboard from a 15-foot duck boat making way. He was not wearing an engine shut off safety lanyard, and the boat engine continued to run, striking him several times while he was attempting to swim to safety. The boater was treated and released from Beebe Medical Center in Lewes. The investigation is still pending.
Citations issued by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:
Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off established roadways in a state wildlife area (1)*, and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (1)*, New Castle County.
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing/crabbing without a license (10), New Castle, Kent and Sussex counties; Possession of undersized blue crabs (3), Kent and Sussex counties; Possession of undersized summer flounder (2), Sussex County.
Boating and Boating Safety: No life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), and no navigation lights/required safety equipment (3), New Castle County; Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (2), New Castle and Sussex counties; Failure to observe slow/no wake zone (1), Kent County.
* These citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Are you AWARE?
The Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Section reminds boat operators that all boat engines are equipped with an emergency ignition “kill” switch, attached to a clip-on lanyard. “With the exception of jet skis, boat operators are not required by law to wear an emergency engine shutoff lanyard while operating their boats in Delaware waters,” said Lt. Carl Winckoski of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement. “However, we strongly encourage boat operators to wear these lanyards. Falling overboard from a boat making way with the engine running and in gear puts you at risk for serious injury or death.”
Operators of personal watercraft (PWC), or jet skis, are required by Delaware law to wear the emergency ignition safety “kill” switch, on a wrist lanyard. This switch shuts off the engine if the driver is thrown from the proper operating position.
PWCs, also commonly called jet skis, are considered inboard boats and must follow the same rules and requirements of any other vessel, including lifejacket requirements. However, there are some important differences that PWC drivers should remember. PWCs steer using a pressurized jet of water, have no brakes, and lose all steering control if the engine is allowed to idle or shut off.
Other considerations include:
· No one under the age of 14 is permitted to operate a PWC under any conditions in Delaware waters. Ages 14 and 15 may operate a PWC only under direct supervision of a parent or guardian who is on board the craft.
· Operators age 16 and older who are in possession of a boating safety certification card may operate a PWC without age restrictions.
· Jumping the wake of a passing boat or riding too close to another PWC or boat creates risks and is prohibited in Delaware waters.
· To avoid engine damage as well as damage to the underwater environment, PWCs should be operated in waters that are at least 30 inches deep.
· Do not dock or beach your PWC in reeds or grasses.
· It is illegal to use your PWC to chase or harass waterfowl.
For more information on boating safety, pick up a copy of the Handbook of Delaware Boating Laws and Responsibilities at the DNREC licensing desk, or visit Delaware_Boating_Safety on the DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife website. For more on Delaware’s boating laws, click Boating Regulations.
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. 311