DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police kick off National Safe Boating Week May 19-25 in Lewes

Delaware’s Boating Safety & Education Office urges good safety practices

DOVER – With the 2018 summer season and ideal weather ahead, many boaters soon will be heading out on the water. DNREC’s Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Office of Boating Safety & Education encourages boaters to practice safe boating, not just during National Safe Boating Week – but also throughout the year.

Who is in the Photo?
This morning, DNREC Secretary Shawn M. Garvin and Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers joined members of the General Assembly, and U.S. Coast Guard and USCG Auxiliary members to officially kick off National Safe Boating Week at the Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Boat Dock in Lewes.

“We encourage citizens who are boating on our waterways to be alert, use common sense and avoid actions that will put themselves, their passengers and other boaters at risk,” said Secretary Garvin. “And, like seatbelts in automobiles, we know without question that wearing lifejackets save lives.”

Delaware, which consistently has one of the lowest boating accident rates in the country, had 33 reported boating accidents and three fatalities last year. Statistics support the vital role of wearing lifejackets in keeping boaters safe. In 2016, 80 percent of all boating-related fatalities nationwide were drowning victims, and of those, 83 percent were not wearing lifejackets, according to the U.S. Coast Guard. There have been no fatalities and no reported accidents this year.

Coast Guard statistics show alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in fatal boating accidents. In Delaware, the same blood alcohol limit used to measure intoxication in automobile drivers applies to boat operators: 0.08 or above is legally intoxicated. Boat operators found to be at or over the limit face fines and potential jail time, as well as putting themselves and their passengers at risk. “The best way to minimize the risk of an accident is to make the wise choice – don’t drink and boat,” said Sgt. Brooke Africa, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Boating Safety & Education Coordinator, noting boaters should plan to have a non-drinking designated boat operator aboard if alcohol is being consumed.

Delaware law requires children age 12 and younger wear a lifejacket while underway in any vessel on Delaware waters. Lifejackets also are required for water skiers, tubers, and personal watercraft operators and passengers of all ages. Though not required by law, Sgt. Africa strongly recommends all other adult boat operators and passengers, especially those with limited swimming skills, wear lifejackets.

Taking a boating safety course can also improve your skills and reduce the chances of an accident. Coast Guard statistics show that in states where boating safety education data is available, 77 percent of reported fatalities occurred on boats where the operator had not received boating safety instruction. Under Delaware law, all persons born on or after Jan. 1, 1978, are required to successfully complete a boating safety course in order to operate a boat in Delaware waters, including personal watercraft, and must carry their boating safety certificate while boating as proof of course completion.

For more information, including Delaware’s boating safety course schedule and the online Delaware Boating Handbook, visit the Delaware Boating Safety web page, or contact Boating Safety & Education Coordinator Sgt. Brooke Africa at 302-739-9913.

Follow 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, twitter.com/DE_FW_NRPolice.

Contact: Sgt. Brooke Africa, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Boating Safety & Education Coordinator, 302-739-9913 or 302-382-7167, or Joanna Wilson, DNREC Public Affairs, 302-739-9902.

Vol. 48, No. 126


DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police encourage public to ‘Wear Your Life Jacket to Work’ May 18

DOVER – DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police announced today their support of “Wear Your Life Jacket to Work Day” on Friday, May 18. They join boating professionals and outdoor enthusiasts in promoting that lifejackets always be worn as a safe boating practice, as well as heightening awareness of the different life jackets available, and showing their comfort and versatility by wearing them to work.

The annual event, hosted by the National Safe Boating Council (NSBC), serves as a fun, educational day just prior to the start of National Safe Boating Week, May 19-25, the official launch of the 2018 Safe Boating Campaign. Educating the boating public about the safety and comfort of lifejackets has been a main focus of the campaign. Members of the boating public as well as those interested in showing the wearability of life jackets are encouraged to participate.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, along with the National Safe Boating Council, is asking all participants to take a picture of themselves in their life jacket while at work and post it on social media using #lifejacket2work #safeboating and #DEFWNRPolice.

The most recent U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in four out of every five recreational boating fatalities in 2016, and that approximately 83 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

For more information on this event, or boating safety in Delaware, contact Delaware Boating Safety & Education Coordinator Sgt. Brooke Africa at 302-739-9913 or email brooke.africa@delaware.gov.

Follow 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.

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

Vol. 47, No. 123


Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: April 16-22

Reminder for the week: Retaining striped bass spawning season unlawful in Delaware

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 Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between April 16-22 made 3,687 contacts with hunters, anglers, boaters and the general public, issuing 28 citations. Officers responded to 33 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.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police in the Community

  • On April 19, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information on Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers during the NOBLE law enforcement job fair at Delaware State University near Dover.
  • On April 19, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information on Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers during a job fair at the Delaware Technical Community College Terry Campus near Dover.
  • On April 20, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers presented information on Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police careers, discussed hunting, fishing and boating in Delaware, and displayed the Operation Game Theft trailer during an Earth Day Expo at the Joint Force Headquarters, MAJ Joseph R. “Beau” Biden III National Guard/Reserve Center near New Castle.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Actions

  • Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers were contacted by the Georgetown Police Department to help search for items associated with an ongoing robbery investigation. K9 Rosco was able to locate several items.

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

Wildlife Conservation: Take/destroy nests and eggs of wild birds (1).

Fisheries Conservation: Unlicensed fishing (8)*, possession of blue river herring (2), possession of undersized white perch (1)*, possession of undersized striped bass (2), use of illegal non-circle hook during striped bass spawning season (3)*.

Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (1).

Public Safety: Unreasonable speed (1).

Other: Possession of marijuana – civil (5) and trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (4).

*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 http://de.gov/ogt.

Are you AWARE?
Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police remind anglers that during Delaware’s striped bass spawning season, which began April 1 and continues through midnight on May 31, it is unlawful for any person to take and retain any striped bass from the Nanticoke River or its tributaries, the Delaware River and its tributaries to the north of a line extending due east beginning at and including the south jetty at the mouth of the C&D Canal, or the C&D Canal or its tributaries. Anglers are required to practice catch and release fishing during this season with no harvest allowed in these areas.

In addition, regulations require anglers fishing with natural bait on any striped bass spawning ground during the closed spawning season to use a non-offset circle hook. The Division of Fish & Wildlife recommends that circle hooks always be used when fishing natural baits because of their proven ability to reduce hook-and-release mortality for striped bass and other fish species. The circle hook’s design usually results in fish being hooked in the mouth, simplifying hook removal and reducing injury to the released fish.

For more information on fishing in Delaware, click on 2018 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 Africa, 302-382-7167, or Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police, 302-739-9913


New “Text-to-911” Feature Now Available Statewide

New “Text-to-911” Feature Now Available Statewide

Governor Carney conducted live demonstration of the system to show enhanced capabilities

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Governor John Carney on Monday recognized that Delaware’s 911 centers are now equipped to accept emergency requests for help through text message.

Today Delaware announced that all 911 centers statewide are ready to receive text messages in the time of an emergency.

“There are many emergency situations that occur each day placing our citizens in a position where making a call is not possible,” said Governor Carney. “Text-to-911 is a life-saving technology, giving our citizens one more way to reach out for help when they need it most. This is just another step Delaware is taking to make our communities safer.”

Governor Carney tests Text to 911.
Governor Carney’s test text message displays on monitors, highlighting the newly enhanced “text-to-911” service.

Governor Carney demonstrates Text to 911.
Governor Carney demonstrates “Text-to-911” with Jeffrey Miller, Chief of Emergency Communications for New Castle County.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While “Text-to-911” is now available, voice calls to 911 are still the best and fastest way to contact 911 in the event of an emergency.

“Text-to-911” is meant for times when a call to 911 is not possible due to the caller being incapable of speech during an emergency, if the caller is hard of hearing, or if the caller is in a situation where it is not safe to place a voice call.

Recent upgrades to equipment and operating system software in 911 Centers statewide, funded through the State’s E911 Board provided the technology needed to support text messaging. This project transitioned the State’s 911 emergency communications system which operated on copper lines to an internet based system with more flexibility for communication and interoperability.

“As chair of the State’s E911 Board, I am extremely proud of this project as the system permits our 911 Centers to accept texting today and in the future will enable us to accept other types of electronic data including pictures and video,” said Safety and Homeland Security Secretary Robert Coupe. “This project also provides new technology that significantly improves operations for our 911 Centers making emergency communication more reliable and efficient for our citizens and the public safety community.”

Text 911 fact sheet
Click image to enlarge.

To quickly get help through Text-to-911, the first text should be short and include the location of the emergency and ask for police, fire, or ambulance. Texts should be in simple words with no emojis, abbreviations or slang. Texts should also not be included on a group conversation.

“The 911 system has been a literal lifesaver for millions of Americans over the years, and since its introduction in the 1960s, 911 has had to adapt to all sorts of changes in technology, public safety needs, and user habits,” said Sussex County Council President Michael H. Vincent, a longtime volunteer firefighter and member of the State’s E911 board. “There was a time when most calls came from landlines at physical addresses. That’s not true today with everyone carrying a cell phone. So by offering the ‘text-to-911’ feature, Sussex County and Delaware’s 9-1-1 call centers are once again adapting to change, and will now have the latest technology in place to continue providing the critical service our public expects. If one person uses this features and it saves a life, then it proves its worth.”

“Text-to-911 is a critical lifeline for those experiencing domestic violence and for other victims of crimes to reach out for immediate help when making a phone call is simply too dangerous. Those who are deaf, hard of hearing or have a speech disability now have a powerful tool to connect with first responders,” said New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer. “We should all be proud that our public safety leadership across the county and state are embracing wireless technology to provide a more efficient response. Call 911 when you can. Text 911 when you can’t.”

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Download the PDF fact sheet.


Secretary Bunting encourages families, children to ‘Love the Bus’

Secretary of Education honors school bus drivers and aides

Families, students and educators are celebrating the bus drivers and bus aides in Delaware who take more than 121,000 students safely to schools each day as part of the 11th annual national Love the Bus program this month.

Governor John Carney issued a proclamation recognizing school bus drivers and aides for their contributions to safe school transportation. Additionally, Secretary of Education Susan Bunting and Superintendent Dan Shelton greeted and thanked school bus drivers and aides after they dropped off students at William Henry Middle School in the Capital School District this morning.

The Love the Bus program, founded in 2007 and coordinated by the American School Bus Council (ASBC), is celebrated on Valentine’s Day, and throughout February, in school communities across the country as a way to raise awareness and appreciation for the hundreds of thousands of school bus drivers who safely transport more than 25 million school children to and from school each day. It is also an opportunity for families and children to learn more about the safety and environmental benefits of school bus transportation. Delawareans are encouraged to share their love online with the hashtag #DElovesthebus.

“The bus drivers and aides who safely transport Delaware’s students to school and back each day have challenging jobs,” Bunting said. “Love the Bus is a great opportunity to thank those who care for our children every day.”

To help celebrate Love the Bus, families, teachers and children are encouraged to visit the program’s Web site, http://www.americanschoolbuscouncil.org to share stories about their favorite bus drivers. Educators also may log on to the site to download an educator’s toolkit, which provides details on incorporating Love The Bus into their lesson plans and offers best practices for communicating about pupil transportation.

Bus drivers receive specialized classroom and behind-the-wheel training in driving a school bus, student loading/unloading procedures, student evacuation, student behavior and security management. All school bus drivers also are required to participate in pre-employment, random and post-accident drug and alcohol testing, frequent driving record checks, and pass periodic medical exams to ensure they are physically qualified. Bus aides receive specialized training to care for those students with special needs.

In addition to the qualified drivers and aides, school buses are, by far, the safest vehicles on the road. Students are about 70 times more likely to get to school safely if they take the school bus versus traveling by car, according to American School Bus Council statistics.

Find photos from today’s event here.

 

Media contact: Alison May, alison.may@doe.k12.de.us, 302-735-4006