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Skip Navigation LinksDNREC : News : Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: May 9-15

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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: May 9-15
Reminder for the week: Wearing lifejackets saves lives in boating emergencies 

DOVER (May 20, 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 9-15 made 1,042 contacts with anglers, boaters, hunters and the general public, including 97 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 47 complaints and issued 27 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.  

An incident of note:

·         On May 13, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Jeffrey L. Valentine, 47, of Perryville, Md., for two counts of setting illegal body-gripping traps to remove groundhogs from a property near Wilmington. Valentine was issued a mandatory appearance at a later date in Justice of the Peace Court 9 in Middletown. If found guilty on both counts, Valentine faces $500 in fines, not including court costs.

Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:

Wildlife Conservation: Setting illegal body-gripping traps (2), hunting wild turkey without a permit (1), and operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1)*.

Fisheries Conservation: Unlicensed fishing (14), possession of undersized blue crabs (1), possession of egg-bearing female blue crab (1), recreational crab pot tampering (1), and improperly marked recreational crab pot (1).

Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (3), inattentive operation of a vessel (1), and no boating safety certificate (1).

* Citation issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.

Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind spring boaters and anglers of the importance of carrying and wearing lifejackets when boating the state’s waterways. In Delaware, lifejackets are the law – and the law requires that owners/operators of recreational vessels carry one readily-accessible lifejacket for each person aboard, and that children age 12 and younger wear a lifejacket while underway in any vessel on Delaware waters. Minimum fine for violations: $76.50.

“Statistics show that where cause of death was known, 76 percent of fatal boating accident victims drowned. Of those drowning victims with reported lifejacket usage, 85 percent were not wearing a lifejacket,” said Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police boating safety coordinator. “Like seatbelts in automobiles, we know without question that lifejackets save lives.”

“Vessel operators are responsible to make sure that children aboard their boat are wearing lifejackets – and they can set the example by also wearing one,” Sgt. McDerby said.“Although the law does not require ages 13 and older to wear a lifejacket, we strongly recommend lifejacket 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.”

 Sgt. McDerby added these tips:

·         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 make noise and attract the attention of rescuers.

·         Pack a set of dry clothing in a sealed plastic bag.

·         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.  

“Filing a float plan is always a good idea, because unforeseen circumstances can hit boaters in any season at any time, including a storm, engine problems, swamping, and injuries or other health issues,” Sgt. McDerby said. “With your plans in hand, a friend or family member can call for help if you’re overdue and tell searchers where to begin looking for you, saving precious time.” 

For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including access to the online Delaware Boating Handbook, please click Delaware Boating Safety, or contact Boating Safety Coordinator Sgt. John McDerby at 302-739-9913 or email To download a float plan form, click here.

Anglers, be AWARE:
The Division of Fish & Wildlife has received a number of calls recently from anglers who thought they were buying a Delaware fishing license from the website when they made a purchase from that site. The private, unaffiliated website does NOT sell licenses, but sells information about fishing and how to obtain fishing licenses for $19.99 - the same information that is readily available for free on the Division of Fish & Wildlife's website. Delaware fishing licenses, meanwhile, are sold online ONLY on the Division of Fish & Wildlife website,, at the licensing desk in DNREC’s Richardson & Robbins Building, 89 Kings Highway, Dover, DE 19901, and by authorized license agents statewide. ONLY the Division of Fish & Wildlife's website is authorized to sell Delaware fishing and hunting licenses online.

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

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook:  

Vol. 46, No. 181

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