Reminder for the week: Paddle boards are vessels – and boating regulations apply
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 July 31-Aug. 6 made 3,433 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 222 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks, issuing 77 citations. Officers responded to 88 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 Michael N. Castle Trail.
Incidents of note:
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Unlicensed Hunting (1), game animal not consumed or utilized for its value (1), hunting white tailed deer during closed season (1), hunting at nighttime (1), unlawful method of take for white tailed deer (1), failure to tag antlerless deer (1), fail to register antlerless deer within 24 hours (1), failure to retain antlerless deer tag (1), and possess or transport antlerless deer that was unlawfully killed (1).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (11), fail to obtain a FIN number (3), trespass to fish on private property (1), possession of a prohibited shark species- sandbar shark (1), failure to release prohibited shark unharmed (1), possession of undersized summer flounder (1), possession of undersized blue crabs (6), no recreational crab pot bycatch reduction device (1), and possession of undersized white perch (2) and possession of undersized largemouth bass (1). Commercial: Failure to tend commercial crab pots within 72 hours (8).
Boating and Boating Safety: Negligent operation of a motor vessel (1), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (3), failure to observe slow no wake zone (1), failure to observe slow no wake on division ponds (1), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (3), no boating safety education certificate (3), equipment violation-no sound producing device (2), and equipment violation-no fire extinguisher (1).
Public Safety: Possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited (1), unlawfully loaded firearm in a vehicle (2), hunt from a motor vehicle (1), driving while suspended or revoked (1), inattentive driving (1), and improper lane change (1).
Other: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (8), target shooting on a state wildlife area (1), and operating an unregistered motor vehicle (1)*.
*Includes citation(s) issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area.
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 de.gov/ogt.
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind paddle boarders to review Delaware’s boating laws and regulations and how they apply to paddle boards before heading out on the waterways.
The U.S. Coast Guard and the State of Delaware recognize a paddle board as a vessel when operated outside the confines of an ocean 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 outside the ocean surfing or swimming area:
Paddle boards longer than 16 feet may have additional safety requirements. For more information, please visit the Delaware Boating Safety webpage.
Media Contacts: Lt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386
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