Contact: Cpl. John McDerby, DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter:
Reminder for the week: Practice safe summer boating, including life jackets
DOVER (July 31, 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 Natural Resources Police officers between July 20-26 made 1,586 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 294 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 81 complaints and issued 193 citations, one of which was related to the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail, where there is an increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence.
Incidents of particular note were:
· On July 24, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested commercial waterman Frank W. Eicherly IV, 56, of Frederica, and charged him with 38 counts of improperly marked conch pots in the Delaware Bay off Broadkill Beach. Eicherly pled not guilty to the charges in Justice of the Peace Court 3 in Georgetown, pending trial at a later date.
· On July 26, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers cited Douglas N. McCray, 42, of Laurel, for possession of a prohibited shark species near Big Stone Beach. McCray was issued a fine totaling $107, including court costs.
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 (1)*, and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (1).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (5), possession of undersized blue crabs (9), use of recreational crab pots without required turtle excluder (1), and possession of a prohibited shark species (1).
Commercial: Improperly marked conch pot (38), possession of undersized knobbed conch (103)**, unlawful possession of horseshoe crabs for use as bait without a valid receipt (1)**. (**This case was the subject of a DNREC press release issued July 28: Commercial conch waterman from New Jersey arrested for felony tampering, reckless endangering and numerous fisheries)
Boating and Boating Safety: Negligent operation of a motor vessel (1), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (2), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (5), no boating safety certificate (5), no boat ramp certificate (1), allowing use of a non-compliant vessel (1), and failure to observe slow/No Wake zone (1).
Public Safety: Harvesting shellfish in a closed or prohibited area (2), failure to observe no stopping, standing or parking zone (7), reckless endangering (1), operating a motor vehicle at unreasonable speed (1), driving with a suspended or revoked license (1), operating a motor vehicle without proof of insurance (1), operating a motor vehicle without registration (1), passing in a no passing zone (1), and failure to have child in child restraint seat (1).
Other: Felony tampering with physical evidence (1).
* This citation was issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind boaters that drinking and boating don’t mix – and that boat operators found to have blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher will face charges for operating under the influence (OUI) – putting themselves, their passengers and other boaters at risk.
Boaters also are reminded that in Delaware, life jackets 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.
“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 Cpl. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “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.”
The same requirements that apply to vessels also apply to paddleboards, canoes and kayaks operating on Delaware waters. All paddleboards, canoes and kayaks must have a wearable lifejacket and a whistle or other sound-producing device aboard and readily accessible.
Other tips for recreational boaters to ensure safe and enjoyable boating include:
· Exercise patience and courtesy at crowded boat ramps and docks.
· Observe all “slow-no wake” areas.
· Maintain a lookout for other vessels and keep a safe distance away.
· Avoid traveling at unsafe speeds, especially in congested areas.
· Check navigation lights and make sure to turn them on when operating at night.
· Carry your boating safety certificate and required safety equipment, including enough life jackets for everyone aboard, a fire extinguisher and a whistle.
· If you fall overboard or capsize, stay with your boat for a better chance of being found sooner.
· 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 attract the attention of rescuers.
· 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.
· Jet ski/personal watercraft operators and passengers are required to wear life jackets at all times while underway.
· It is illegal for youth under the age of 14 to operate jet skis/personal watercraft.
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 & Wildlife website. For more on Delaware’s boating laws, please visit Boating Regulations.
DNREC’s 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, wildlife and boating violations to the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police by calling 302-739-4580. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030 or online at http://de.gov/ogt.
Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.
Vol. 45, No. 255