DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: June 3-9

Reminder for the week: Avoid distracted boating and improper lookouts

DOVER – To achieve public compliance with laws and regulations through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between June 3-9 made 3,193 contacts with anglers, boaters, and the general public, issuing 60 citations. Officers responded to 87 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. A Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and Michael N. Castle Trail.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community

  • On June 9, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers discussed the role of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers, safe hunting, hunting laws, and what to expect when checked by an officer in the field during a Hunter Education Class held at the Little Creek Hunter Education Training Center.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

  • On June 4, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested two commercial fishermen for one count each of theft under $1,500 and conspiracy 3rd degree after they were found to be in possession of a commercial crab pot that they did not own on the Delaware Bay. Matthew Ewing, 36, and Patricia Ewing, 35, both of Frederica, were charged and arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 and released on their own recognizance pending a future court date.

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

Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Use of a crab pot without required turtle excluder (1), crab pot tampering (1), possession of undersized blue crabs (3), possession of sponge blue crabs (8), trespass to fish (4), unlicensed fishing (7)*, no Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number (2), and possession of undersized white perch (1).

Boating & Boating Safety: No life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (3), operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (4), failure to observe slow no wake (1), and inattentive operation of a motor vessel (1).

Public Safety: Clamming in a prohibited area (1), operating a motor vehicle at an unreasonable speed (1), following a motor vehicle too closely (1), and possession of drug paraphernalia (1).

Other: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (11)*, littering (1), operating an unregistered motor cycle (1)*, operating an unregistered motor vehicle (2)*, theft under $1,500 (2), conspiracy 3rd degree (2), and local fugitive (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 or through the DENRP Tip app on a smartphone, which can be downloaded free of charge by searching “DENRP Tip” via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030, going online to http://de.gov/ogt, or using the DENRP Tip app. Verizon customers can connect to Operation Game Theft directly by dialing #OGT.

Are you AWARE?
Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind boaters to always be safe on the waters by avoiding distracted boating and improper lookouts.

Inattentive operation of a vessel in Delaware includes both distracted boating and improper lookouts. We urge boaters to put down their electronics, talk to your passengers about a distraction-free ride, and watch for other boaters and swimmers around you. Any vessel operator found to not give their full time and attention to the operation of the vessel or maintain a proper lookout while operating the vessel will be charged with inattentive operation.

Some other ways to avoid distracted boating and improper lookouts include:

  • Eat before you go! Focus becomes divided when you have one hand on the helm and one on your meal.
  • Have a passenger handle adjusting the music so you as the operator are not worrying about changing the stations to find the best song!
  • Assign a passenger to be an additional lookout as waterways can become congested. Having another pair of eyes for other vessels and people in the water is always beneficial.
  • Make sure there is always another person on board who can operate the vessel safely and legally in case you become fatigued from all the sun and fun.
  • Never drink and boat.

To report boating, fisheries, and wildlife violations, please call the Delaware Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 24-hour dispatch line at: 302-739-4580 or 1-800-523-3336.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DEFWNRPolice/.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

Contact: Sgt. Brooke Mitchell 302-382-7167, or Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police 302-739-9913

-End-


DNREC Division of Fish Wildlife announces Augustine Beach Boat Ramp periodic closures for dredging June 12-July 11

DOVER – The Augustine Beach Boat Ramp near Port Penn and adjacent intertidal beach located on the south side of the existing rock groin will be periodically closed starting Wednesday, June 12 through Thursday, July 11 for maintenance dredging of the boat ramp access channel, DNREC’s Division of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

During this time period, the boat ramp will be closed from 8 a.m. each Monday until 5 p.m. each Thursday, reopening from 5 p.m. each Thursday until 8 a.m. each Monday. The site parking lot will remain open for the duration of the dredging project.

Weather permitting, the project is expected to be complete, with full access restored, by July 12.

Boaters who regularly use the Augustine Beach Boat Ramp may opt to use the Fort DuPont Boat Ramp, located approximately five miles north in Delaware City.

For more information, please call the DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Fisheries Section at 302-739-9914.

Follow the Division of Fish & Wildlife on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DelawareFishWildlife.

Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902

Vol. 49, No. 157


DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: May 20-26

Reminder for the week: Crabbers should review regulations before placing pots

DOVER – To achieve public compliance with laws and regulations through education and enforcement actions that help conserve Delaware’s fish and wildlife resources and ensure safe boating and public safety, DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between May 20-26 made 3,888 contacts with anglers, boaters, and the general public, issuing 110 citations. Officers responded to 157 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public. A Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and Michael N. Castle Trail.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

  • On May 24, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested Mary M. Cain, 38, of Houston, for one count each of trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area, possession of drug paraphernalia not marijuana related, possession of marijuana – civil, possession of heroin, and two counts of possession of an opium or derivative at Coursey Pond near Felton. Cain was arraigned at Kent County Justice of the Peace Court 7 and released on her own recognizance pending a future court date.

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

Fisheries Conservation: Possession of undersized blue crabs (10), possession of sponge crabs (2), no Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number (22), unlicensed fishing (9), and possession of undersized white perch (1).

Boating & Boating Safety: No life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (8)*, operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (5), operating a personal watercraft without required life jackets (6), no throwable life preserver aboard as required for vessels 16 feet long or longer (1)*, operating an unregistered vessel (1), operating a vessel without a vessel registration card in possession (3), no boating safety certificate (5), allowing use of non-compliant vessel (3), no navigation lights (2)*, and operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (1).

Public Safety: Possession of drug paraphernalia not marijuana related (1), possession of marijuana – civil (1), possession of heroin (1), and possession of an opium or derivative (2).

Other: Operating a motor vehicle off an established roadway on a state wildlife area (1)*, trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (23)*, and parking violation – no stopping, standing, or parking (2).

*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 or through the DENRP Tip app on a smartphone, which can be downloaded free of charge by searching “DENRP Tip” via the Google Play Store or the iTunes App Store. Wildlife violations may also be reported anonymously to Operation Game Theft by calling 800-292-3030, going online to http://de.gov/ogt, or using the DENRP Tip app. Verizon customers can connect to Operation Game Theft directly by dialing #OGT.

Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind recreational crabbers to review state regulations governing blue crabs, including the required use of a turtle by-catch reduction device in recreational crab pots. Turtle by-catch reduction devices are available at many tackle shops where crab pots are sold.

Other Delaware crabbing regulations include:

  • A Delaware recreational fishing license is required for crabbing.
  • The recreational daily limit on blue crabs is one bushel per person.
  • Minimum “keeper” size for male blue crabs and immature female crabs with the V-shaped apron is 5 inches, measured across the shell from point to point.
  • Mature female crabs, identified by the U-shaped apron, are exempt from the minimum size of 5 inches because many females reach maturity at a smaller size.
  • Mature female blue crabs bearing eggs, known as sponge crabs and recognizable by the orange eggs visible under the apron, may not be taken and must be returned to the water immediately.
  • Recreational crabbers may use any number of single, baited hand lines, trot lines (a longer weighted line with a series of baited points), or pull traps. Standard size and possession limits as noted above apply.
  • Recreational crabbers may not use, place, set, or tend more than two crab pots.
  • Recreational crab pots must be tended by the owner at least once every 72 hours and must be marked with white buoys with the owner’s name and permanent mailing address.
  • Recreational crabbers are prohibited from selling blue crabs; only commercially-licensed crabbers are permitted to offer blue crabs for sale in Delaware.
  • Crabbing or fishing off courtesy docks at state-owned boat ramps is prohibited.
  • To avoid being cited for littering, gather up leftover bait, bait containers, crab lines, and other trash for proper disposal. Fish & Wildlife fishing areas and wildlife areas are “carry in, carry out” for trash.

For more information on crabbing in Delaware, click on 2019 Delaware Fishing Guide. The guide also is available in printed form at DNREC’s Dover licensing desk, and from license agents throughout the state.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/DEFWNRPolice/.

Follow Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police on Twitter, https://twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

Contact: Sgt. Brooke Mitchell, 302-382-7167, or Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913


DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police advise: Don’t drink and boat on Delaware waterways

DOVER – For a safer Memorial Day holiday weekend, DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind boaters that drinking and boating don’t mix. Boat operators who have consumed alcohol put themselves, their passengers, and other boaters in Delaware waters at risk, and boat operators found with blood alcohol levels of .08 or higher will face charges for operating under the influence (OUI) in violation of Delaware and federal laws.

Marine patrols are increased over the holiday weekend to ensure safe boating and public safety. Boat operators found at or above the legal limit will find their voyage terminated, will be arrested, and may have their vessel impounded. Anyone charged with boating under the influence also can face fines and potential jail time.

According to national statistics from the U.S. Coast Guard, alcohol use is a leading known contributing factor to fatal boating accidents. In 2017, the most recent year for which U.S. Coast Guard statistics are available, In 2017, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 275 boat accidents involved alcohol use, resulting in 102 deaths and 227 injuries nationally.

The best way to minimize the risk of an accident is to make the wiser choice – don’t drink and boat. Environmental stressors aboard a boat – such as constant motion, heat, sun glare, and dehydration – all contribute to the negative effects of any amount of alcohol. Because of this, having a non-drinking, designated boat operator is strongly recommended.

Other tips for recreational boaters to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday weekend include:

  • Make sure children 12 and younger wear life jackets while underway as required by law.
  • Wear your life jacket and encourage all your passengers 13 and older to also wear them.
  • Observe all “Slow No Wake” areas.
  • Maintain a lookout and keep a safe distance from other vessels.
  • Check navigation lights and make sure to turn them on when operating at night.
  • Carry your boating education card and all required safety equipment appropriate for your size vessel.
  • Canoes, kayaks, and paddle boards are considered vessels, and passengers are required to have a life jacket on board and carry a whistle or other sound-producing device. If you are out after sunset, a flashlight is also required.

For access to the online Delaware Boating Handbook and other safe boating information, visit the Delaware Boating Safety web pages, or contact Delaware Boating Safety & Education Coordinator Sgt. Brooke Mitchell at 302-739-9913 or brooke.mitchell@delaware.gov.

Media Contact: Sgt. Brooke Mitchell, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-382-7167, or Joanna Wilson, Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.


DNREC Shoreline & Waterway Management Section urges boater alertness for navigating Baker’s Channel this summer

Low tide leaves only 1.5 feet of water until Massey Ditch dredging

DOVER – The Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Shoreline & Waterway Management Section advises boaters traveling in the Inland Bays over Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer to be alert when navigating in Baker’s Channel. The channel extends from Rehoboth Bay to Indian River Bay around the eastern side of the island known as Lynch’s Thicket.

The entrance to Baker’s Channel in Rehoboth Bay between Channel Marker 1 and the gate at Markers 3 and 4 is very shallow at low tide. There is only about 1.5 feet of water at low tide for boaters to navigate. This portion of Baker’s Channel is scheduled to be dredged later this year as part of the Massey’s Ditch maintenance dredging project.

Media Contact: Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902