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DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police Blotter: June 15-21 |

Reminder for the week: Observe safety precautions when towing water skiers

 DOVER (June 26, 2015) – 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 Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between June 15-21 made 2,327 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, including 254 vessel boardings for boating safety and fishing regulation compliance checks. Officers responded to 64 complaints and issued 44 citations. This week, 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.


An incident of particular note was:

  • On June 19, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers arrested commercial fisherman Travis J. Mick, 32, of Milford, for three counts of collecting horseshoe crabs in a closed area designated as a sanctuary near Pickering Beach. Mick was taken to Justice of the Peace Court 7 in Dover, where he pled guilty to one count of collecting horseshoe crabs in a closed area and paid a fine of $357 including court costs.


Citations issued by offense type included the following, with the number of charges in parentheses:


Wildlife Conservation: Trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area (1).


Fisheries Conservation: Recreational: Fishing without a license (13), possession of undersized blue crabs (9), possession of undersized summer flounder (2), possession of undersized white perch (1), possession of a prohibited shark species (1), removing a prohibited shark from the water (1), tending over-the-limit recreational crab pots (1), and failure to tend recreational crab pots at least once within required 72-hour timeframe (1).

Commercial: Collecting horseshoe crabs in a closed area (3), and commercial lobster pot violation/fishing from an unauthorized vessel (1). 


Boating and Boating Safety: Operating a vessel with insufficient number of life jackets (3), no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law (1), no boating safety certificate (3), failure to observe slow/no wake zone (1), and no fire extinguisher on board/required safety equipment (1).


Public Safety: Clamming in a prohibited area (1).


Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police News, Training and Outreach

On June 20, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers displayed the Operation Game Theft trailer at Lowes’ Kids Safety Day and spoke to about 300 children and their families about fisheries, wildlife and boating safety.


Are you AWARE?

DNREC’s Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police reminds boaters of some important safety regulations when towing water skiers.


“Water skiing is a three-person sport – the water skier, the boat operator and the observer,” said Cpl. John McDerby, Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police boating safety coordinator. “Under Delaware law, any vessel towing a water skier 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:

  • Recreational water skiers must wear life jackets.
  • A water skiing tow line cannot exceed 75 feet in length.
  • Observe all “slow-no wake” areas.
  • Avoid traveling at unsafe speeds, especially in congested areas.
  • Observe marked “No Water Skiing” areas, which include all marked swimming areas, a portion of the channel through Masseys Landing, Assawoman Canal, portions of the Rehoboth-Lewes Canal, Indian River Inlet, Roosevelt Inlet and Whites Creek.
  • 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 and 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