Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: Aug. 1-14
Reminder for the week: Observe safety precautions when towing water skiers, tubers, knee-boarders
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, DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between Aug. 1-14 made 4,166 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 472 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 130 complaints and issued 102 citations. During this two week period, with an expanded Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police presence continuing to be deployed as a deterrent, no citations were issued at the C&D Canal Conservation Area and associated recreational trail.
Incidents of note:
- On Aug. 13, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police responded to a report of a body floating in the water near the Newport Boat Ramp. The body was turned over to the state Medical Examiner’s office to determine cause of death. Delaware State Police are investigating the case.
- On Aug. 1, following an investigation, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrested commercial waterman Terry R. Murray, 41, of Frankford, and charged him with 21 counts of failure to tend commercial crab pots at least once within the required 72-hour timeframe, and one count each of no commercial crabbing license, no commercial clamming license and possession of over-the-limit hard clams on Roy’s Creek west of Fenwick Island. Murray was video-arraigned and released on $2,300 unsecured bond, pending an appearance in the Sussex County Court of Common Pleas at a later date.
Citations issued by category, with the number of charges in parentheses, included:
Wildlife Conservation: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (4).
Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Unlicensed fishing (7), possession of undersized blue crabs (11), recreational crab pot tampering (6), over-the-limit recreational crab pots (1), use of recreational crab pots without required turtle excluder (1), failure to tend recreational crab pots at least once within required 72-hour timeframe (1), possession of undersized striped bass (2), possession of undersized weakfish (1), possession of undersized sea bass (1), possession of undersized summer flounder (2), and possession of summer flounder parts (2).
Commercial: Failure to tend commercial crab pots at least once within required 72-hour timeframe (21), possession of over-the-limit hard clams (1), clamming without a commercial license (1), and crabbing without a commercial license (1).
Boating and Boating Safety: OUI/operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol (2), negligent operation of a vessel (3), inattentive operation of a vessel (1), careless operation of a vessel (1), failure to maintain proper lookout while towing a tuber or water skier (2), operating a vessel with insufficient number of lifejackets (2), no lifejacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (7), failure to observe slow-no-wake zone (4), operating an unregistered vessel (2), owner or responsible party allowing use of a non-compliant vessel (1), no sound-producing device (1), no fire extinguisher (1), no navigation lights (3), and no boating education certificate (6).
Public Safety: Possession of heroin (1), possession of marijuana (1), and passing in a no-passing zone in a motor vehicle (1).
Two DNREC press releases were issued related to Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police:
- Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police arrest Dover man for drug possession in Little Creek Wildlife Area
- Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police respond to multiple boating accidents, address safety violations
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police News, Training and Outreach
- On Aug. 11, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police displayed the Operation Game Theft trailer at Newark’s Safe Kids Camp. Officers spoke to about 25 four- to six-year-olds about safe boating and fishing and hunting, and gave tours of the trailer, showing and explaining items taken illegally by poachers.
- During the month of July, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police tagged more than 600 recreational crab pots on the Inland Bays in Sussex County with information on crab pot rules and to determine if the pots were being checked as required. Crabbers are reminded to review the regulations regarding use of recreational crab pots in Delaware waters. Under state law, recreational crabbers cannot tend more than two crab pots and must be present when setting their pots. Recreational crab pots cannot be placed inside navigation channels, must be tended at least once every 72 hours, have a turtle excluder installed at the entrance and be attached to an all-white float that includes a tag with the owner’s full name and address. Although not required by law, Fish & Wildlife officers recommend including a phone number on your crab pots for contact if unauthorized persons are found to be in possession of the pots. For more information, please click on 2016 Delaware Fishing Guide.
Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind boaters of some important safety regulations when towing water skiers, tubers and knee-boarders.
“Water skiing requires at least three participants – the water skier or skiers, the boat operator and a competent observer – and this also applies to tubing and knee-boarding,” said Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police boating safety coordinator. “Under Delaware law, any vessel towing a water skier, tuber or knee-boarder must have a person aboard other than the operator to act as the observer. To ensure the skier’s safety, the observer faces backwards, watches the skier and alerts the boat operator of any hand signals from the skier or if the skier goes down.”
Other safety requirements for water skiing, tubing and knee-boarding:
- Personal watercraft (PWC) used for towing skiers, tubers or knee boarders must have enough seats – minimum of three – to carry the operator, observer and skier.
- Recreational water skiers, tubers and knee-boarders must wear lifejackets.
- A tow line cannot exceed 75 feet in length.
- Observe all “slow-no-wake” areas.
- Avoid traveling at unsafe speeds, including congested areas.
- Observe marked “No Water Skiing” areas, which include all marked swimming areas, Assawoman Canal, Rehoboth-Lewes Canal and portions of Indian River Inlet, Roosevelt Inlet, Whites Creek and the channel through Masseys Landing.
- Maintain a safe and reasonable distance from shipping lanes, other vessels, persons and property.
- Water skiing is prohibited at night between sunset and sunrise, and within 100 feet of persons in the water, piers, docks, floats, wharfs, vessels anchored or adrift and private or public boat launch ramps.
For more information, please visit the Delaware Boating Safety webpage.
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.
Media Contact: Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913 or 302-354-1386, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902
Vol. 46, No. 309