Reminder for the week: Proper gear, precautions help protect winter boaters from cold weather hazards
DOVER – 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, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between Jan. 9-15 made 1163 contacts with anglers, hunters, boaters and the general public, including 23 vessel boardings for boating safety, hunting and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 21 citations. Officers responded to 27 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. An increased Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions
Incidents of note:
• On Jan. 14, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Justin T. Raysor, 20, of Wilmington, following an incident of illegal deer hunting on state property near Wilmington. Raysor was cited for one count each of failure to have hunting license in possession, failure to display the required hunter orange during a firearms deer season, hunting on a refuge and possession of an unlawfully taken antlered deer. Fines were $1,664, including court costs.
• On Jan. 15, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested William Johnson III, 63, of Georgetown, for willful obstruction or impeding of lawful hunting at the Industrial Forest Land near Georgetown, a property managed by the Delaware Fish & Wildlife for hunting. Johnson was arraigned at Sussex County Justice of the Peace Court 3, where he pled guilty and was fined $357, including court costs.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Failure to have hunting license in possession (1), willful obstruction or impeding of lawful hunting (1), hunting on a refuge (3), hunting with an unplugged shotgun capable of holding more than three shells (1), and possession of an unlawfully taken antlered deer (1).
Public Safety: Possession of a firearm by a person prohibited (4), possession of ammunition by a person prohibited (1), failure to display required hunter orange during a firearms deer season (3), possession of a loaded firearm in a vessel (4), and striking an occupied dwelling with shot discharged from a firearm (1).
Other: Operating an unregistered motor vehicle on a state wildlife area (1).
Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind the boating public to take precautions for winter weather and cold water to prevent the risk from hypothermia if they fall overboard or are otherwise exposed to cold water while hunting, fishing or cruising our waterways.
“For those hardy outdoor enthusiasts who boat, fish and hunt in the winter, staying safe in the event of a boating mishap is all about choosing and using the right gear,” said Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “Falling overboard or getting excessively chilled or wet on deck can put you at risk for hypothermia, so dress and outfit yourself appropriately.”
Immersion in cold water can lead very quickly to hypothermia, in which the body instinctively protects its core by shutting down blood flow to limbs first. The U.S. Coast Guard recommends wearing layers for protection and warmth, including gloves and a hat. Recommended gear also includes three types of protective clothing to reduce risk: flotation coats, which double as life jackets but may not protect against hypothermia if the wearer falls into cold water; immersion or survival suits, which can increase survival time in cold water; or a dry suit to keep water out and, with thermal layers beneath, keep warmth in.
Other recommended safety items include:
• Life jackets, worn by everyone on board, especially non-swimmers in all seasons; Delaware law requires that all children 12 years old and younger aboard a vessel wear a lifejacket while underway.
• Blankets, to stay warm on board while awaiting rescue.
• Multiple means of communication – a fully-charged cell phone and a marine radio.
• Items to attract the attention of rescuers: a whistle, a personal position locator beacon (PLB) and a personal emergency locator light, all kept in immersion suit pockets and secured with a lanyard.
Boat operators should also plan to spend a little extra time on vessel preparations and maintenance to help prevent breakdowns on the water, including checking fuel levels before heading out. “An equipment failure that would be a minor inconvenience in warmer weather could be life-threatening this time of year,” Sgt. McDerby said.
Sgt. McDerby also added these tips:
• Check your vessel’s capacity plate for maximum weight to avoid overloading, which can lead to possible capsizing; hunting parties are reminded to take the weight of their gear into account.
• Keep your cell phone in a secure pocket and sealed in a plastic bag.
• Pack a set of dry clothing in a sealed plastic bag.
• If you fall overboard or capsize, stay with your boat for a better chance of being found sooner.
• Keep clothing on to help retain heat.
• 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 a friend or family member’s hands, they can call for help if you’re overdue and tell searchers where to begin looking for you, saving precious time.”
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://OpGameTheft.aspx.
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.
Media contact: Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386.
Built by the Government Information Center