Contact: Sgt. 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
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter:
Reminder for the week: Paddle boards are vessels – and boating regulations apply
DOVER (June 3, 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 May 23-29 made 3,450 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 659 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 109 complaints and issued 87 citations, 12 of which were 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 May 29, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Andrey Pristatskiy, 38, of Philadelphia, for crab pot tampering and no fishing license in Little Assawoman Bay. Pristatskiy was fined $272, including court costs.
· On May 28, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, following a routine safety check, cited Jeremy S. Halter, 44, of Odessa, for one count each of operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (OUI), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets and no throwable life preserver aboard as required for vessels 16 feet long or longer, in the Delaware River south of Augustine Beach. Halter was released pending a mandatory appearance in Justice of the Peace Court 9 in Middletown.
· On May 27, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Michael P. McKinley, 53, of Newark, for one count each of inattentive operation of a vessel and operating an unregistered vessel following an investigation into a boating accident in which a 53-foot vessel ran aground on the north shore of the C&D Canal. McKinley was fined $214, including court costs. No injuries were reported.
· On May 23, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Mikel A. Couch, 22, of Newark, for one count each of possession of marijuana, operating a motor vehicle without insurance, operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area and damaging state property on a wildlife area in connection with an incident in which a vehicle got stuck off-road in the dog training area of the C&D Canal Conservation Area. Couch was issued a mandatory appearance in Justice of the Peace Court 9 in Middletown, and then taken to the Kent County Court of Common Pleas, where he was wanted on cash-only bail for an unrelated warrant. A passenger in the vehicle, Elias R. Cruz, 19, of Clayton, N.C., was charged with possession of marijuana and fined $131, including court costs.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1)*, and damaging state property on a wildlife area (1)*.
Fisheries Conservation: Unlicensed fishing (25), possession of undersized blue crabs (4), tending more than the limit of two recreational crab pots (1), improperly marked recreational crab pot (1), crab pot tampering (1), possession of undersized white perch (5), and possession of undersized summer flounder (1).
Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol/OUI (1), inattentive operation of a vessel (1), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (16), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (5), no throwable life preserver aboard as required for vessels 16 feet long or longer (1), non-serviceable life jacket (1), failure to observe slow-no-wake zone (5), no boating education certificate (8), no sound-producing device on board (2), allowing use of a non-compliant vessel (1), and operating an unregistered vessel (2).
Public Safety: Possession of marijuana (2)*, operating a motor vehicle without insurance (1)*, and parking in a no stopping/no standing zone (1).
* Citations issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area, along with unlicensed fishing (3), and possession of undersized white perch (4).
Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind paddle boarders – especially those new to the increasingly popular sport – to review Delaware’s boating laws and regulations and how they apply to paddle boards before heading out on the waterways.
In recent years, the sport of paddle boarding has grown immensely in popularity in Delaware. Paddle boarders can often be seen on many of Delaware’s waterways throughout the summertime.
So just what is a paddle board? A paddle board is configured similarly to a surfboard, but is usually longer and thicker. The operator of a paddle board stands upright on the board and propels it through the water using a long paddle.
The United States Coast Guard and the State of Delaware recognize a paddle board as a vessel when operated outside the confines of a surfing or swimming area. Therefore, many of the same vessel requirements for personal flotation devices, visual distress signals, sound producing devices and the use of a navigational light during low light conditions apply when paddle boards are operated in Delaware waters.
A paddle board less than 16 feet in length** must meet the following safety equipment requirements when operated in Delaware waters:
· All paddle boarders must have a United States Coast Guard-approved life jacket on board.
· Any child age 12 and younger must wear a USCG-approved life jacket at all times while on a paddle board.
· Paddle boarders must carry a whistle, horn or some other sounding device capable of making an efficient sound signal.
· When operating between the hours of sunset and sunrise, paddle boarders must carry a visual distress signal – an electric distress light or flares – suitable for night use. This applies to all boards operated on coastal waters and directly-connected waters (bays, sounds, harbors, rivers, inlets, etc.) which are two miles wide or wider.
· When operating between the hours of sunset and sunrise, a paddle boarder also must have an electric torch or lighted lantern showing a white light ready at hand for use as a navigation light, which must be exhibited in sufficient time to prevent collision.
**Paddle boards longer than 16 feet may have additional safety requirements.
For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including more details on life jackets and other safety equipment, please visit www.dnrec.delaware.gov/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.
Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, www.facebook.com/pages/Delaware-Fish-Wildlife-Natural-Resources-Police.
Vol. 46, No. 207