Boaters urged to check gear before putting vessels in the water

With warm weather finally having arrived, DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police this week reminded boaters to make sure their vessel is ready for a trouble-free day enjoying Delaware’s waterways by performing a pre-departure check. Before hooking up your boat trailer, boaters should have:
• All current required licenses and registrations, including fishing license(s), boat registration, boating safety certificate and, for vessels registered out-of-state launching at a Division of Fish & Wildlife tidal boat ramp, a boat ramp certificate;
• Enough lifejackets for everyone on board, including children 12 or younger, who are required by Delaware law to wear them; for vessels 16 feet or more in length, a throwable life preserver is also required;
• Checked the local weather forecast;
• Left a float plan with a responsible friend, family member or local marina, including 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;
• Checked for working navigation lights, steering and throttle controls;
• Checked oil, fuel and fluid levels;
• Checked for fuel leaks, including hose clamps and connections;
• Drained all water from the engine compartment or bilge, and replaced and secured the bilge plug;
• A fully charged engine battery and fire extinguishers;
• Emergency flares and a fully charged cell phone or marine radio; and
• Plenty of water to stay hydrated and sunscreen to protect against sunburn, which can be severe on the water.
“Boaters are encouraged to remember the importance of lifejacket use,” added Sgt. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police. “Delaware law requires that all children 12 years old and younger aboard a vessel and all personal watercraft operators wear a lifejacket while under way. The law does not require wearing a lifejacket for those age 13 to adult on vessels other than PWCs — but boat owners/operators are required to carry a lifejacket for each person aboard a vessel.”
For more information on safe boating practices in Delaware, including a float plan form, visit the Delaware Boating Safety page online, or pick up a copy of the Handbook of Delaware Boating Laws & Responsibilities at the DNREC licensing desk.
DNREC Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between April 11 and 17 made 1,159 contacts with anglers, boaters, hunters and the general public, including 81 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 39 complaints and issued 16 citations.
In an incident of note, on April 13, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police cited Jeffery M. Tisher, 44, of Ellendale, for one count of hunting wild turkeys over a baited area near Ellendale. Tisher was issued a $342 fine, including court costs.
Citations issued during the week included trespassing to hunt, hunting wild turkeys over a baited area, two citations for operating a motor vehicle in a closed area on a state wildlife area, spinning tires/speed exhibition, five citations for unlicensed fishing, two citations for trespassing to fish, possession of unlawfully-taken white perch by using a net in a spillway, two citations for illegal use of cast net in tidal water within 300 feet of a dam or spillway and operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets.