Contact: Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter:
Reminder for the week: Personal watercraft operators need to review rules for their vessels
DOVER (July 15, 2016) – 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’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between July 4-10 made 1,610 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 304 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 71 complaints and issued 57 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 note:
· On July 10, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited James W. Short, 61, of Ocean View, for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and failure to observe slow-no-wake zone on Indian River Bay. Short was given a mandatory appearance at Justice of the Peace Court 14 in Georgetown at a later date.
· On July 8, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited William J. Lis, 67, of Wilmington, for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and no navigation lights on Indian River Bay. Lis was given a mandatory appearance at Justice of the Peace Court 14 in Georgetown at a later date.
· On July 4, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Scott A. Focht, 38, of Bala Cynwyd, Pa., for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol, clamming in a closed and/or polluted area, possession of over-the-limit hard clams, no boating education certificate and unlicensed fishing on Rehoboth Bay. Focht was given a mandatory appearance at Justice of the Peace Court 14 in Georgetown at a later date.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (4), and hunting after hours (1).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (13)*, possession of undersized blue crabs (12), use of recreational crab pots without required turtle excluder (3), tending more than two recreational crab pots (1), improperly marked crab pot (1), failure to tend recreational crab pots at least once within required 72-hour timeframe (1), possession of over-the-limit hard clams (1), and possession of undersized white perch (2).
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (3), negligent operation of a vessel (3), operating a vessel with insufficient number of lifejackets (1), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (2), failure to observe slow-no-wake zone (1), operating an unregistered vessel (1), no boating education certificate (4), no boat ramp certificate (1), and no navigation lights (1).
Public Safety: Clamming in a closed and/or polluted area (1).
* Citation issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area: unlicensed fishing (1).
Are you AWARE?
DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind personal watercraft (PWC) owners – especially new owners – to review Delaware’s boating laws and regulations and understand how they apply to PWC operation prior to heading out on the waterways.
As PWC manufacturers develop new and innovative technology increasing the comfort, size and speed of PWCs, also known as jet skis, their popularity and use continue to grow on Delaware’s waterways. As popularity and use of PWCs grows nationally, so do accidents, violations and conflicts with other recreational boaters.
Since PWCs are considered motor vessels, operators must comply with several safety and operation requirements, some of which are specific to PWC operation. The following laws apply to all PWCs operated on Delaware waters:
· Anyone born after Jan. 1, 1978 must complete an approved boating safety course and carry their boating safety education card with them prior to operating a motor vessel – including a PWC – in Delaware waters.
· PWC operators must be age 16 or older. Ages 14 and 15 may operate a PWC, but only under the direct supervision of a parent or legal guardian on board. Youth under age 14 may not operate a PWC on Delaware waters.
· PWC times of operation are restricted to the hours of sunrise to sunset.
· PWC operators and passengers must wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved lifejacket at all times while underway.
· PWCs are equipped with an emergency ignition safety “kill” switch attached to a lanyard required to be worn by PWC operators. This switch shuts off the engine if the operator is thrown from the proper operating position.
· All PWCs must be equipped with safety equipment that includes a whistle, horn or other sound-producing device, and a Coast Guard-approved fire extinguisher.
· Prohibited PWC maneuvers which endanger the safety of persons and property include:
- Weaving through congested vessel traffic;
- Jumping or attempting to jump the wake of another vessel;
- Following within 100 feet of a water skier; and
- Speeding in restricted speed areas.
· Towing water skiers is prohibited without a rear-facing observer on board. The PWC also must be designed by the manufacturer to carry the operator, the observer and the person or persons being towed.
· Do not exceed the manufacturer’s carrying capacity of any PWC.
· Within the Delaware waters of the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware’s Inland Bays adjacent to incorporated areas, PWCs are required to maintain headway speed or slower when operating less than 300 feet from all persons in the water and any shoreline, wharfs, piers, docks, boat launching areas, pilings, bridge structures, moored, drifting or anchored vessels, and all non-motorized vessels.
· Except for the waters of Delaware’s Inland Bays adjacent to incorporated areas and the Atlantic Ocean, PWCs must maintain headway speed or slower when operating less than 100 feet from all wharfs, docks, boat launching facilities, piling, bridges structures, moored, drifting or anchored vessels, all non-motorized vessels and any shoreline. In all areas, PWCs must remain at least 300 feet from all persons in the water.
For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including more details on PWC laws and regulations, please visit Delaware Boating Safety.
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.
Like Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.
Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.
Vol. 46, No. 257