Boaters urged to observe safety precautions when towing

DNREC Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police this week reminded boaters of some important safety regulations when towing water skiers, tubers, or knee-boarders:

• Requires at least three participants — the water skier, the boat operator and a competent observer.

• Personal watercraft (PWC) used for towing skiers, tubers or knee-boarders must have enough seats — a minimum of three — to carry the operator, observer and skier.

• Recreational water skiers, tubers and knee-boarders must wear lifejackets at all times.

• Operators and passengers of a personal watercraft, regardless of age, must wear lifejackets at all times.

• A tow line cannot exceed 75 feet in length.

• Observe all “slow-no-wake” areas.

• Avoid traveling at unsafe speeds, including in 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.

Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers between June 17 and 23 made 2,210 contacts with anglers, boaters and the general public, issuing 38 citations. Officers responded to 69 complaints regarding possible violations of laws and regulations or requests to assist the public.

Fisheries citations during the week included: four citations for possession of undersized blue crabs, crab pot tampering, two citations for tending over-the-limit crab pots, possession of a prohibited shark, unlicensed fishing and two citations for no Fisherman Information Network (FIN) number.

Boating and boating safety citations issued during the week included: four citations for no life jacket on a child age 12 or younger as required by law, two citations for operating a personal watercraft without required life jackets, jumping the wake of another vessel, waterskiing in a prohibited area, negligent operation of a motor vessel, four citations for failure to observe slow no wake, no boat ramp certificate, two citations for no boating education certificate and two citations for operating an unregistered vessel.

There were also eight citations for trespassing after hours on a state wildlife area and one for littering.