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National Safe Boating Week runs May 21 to 27

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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DNREC kicks off awareness campaign at Lewes boat launch

Boaters are heading back out to Delaware's waters, and state officials are reminding operators to use good safety practices.

National Safe Boating Week takes place from May 21 to 27, and Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control kicked it off with an event at Lewes' public boat launch near the mouth of the Broadkill River.

"Boating is popular in coastal Delaware with both residents and many of our seasonal visitors," said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. "Boating is fun, but it's also serious business. That's why, for more than 40 years, the federal government has provided grant support for boater safely and education programs, and Delaware mandates boater safety classes and lifejacket use for children."

Chief Robert Legates of the Division of Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police said Delaware had one boating-related fatality and 25 reportable boating accidents last year. To date, he said, there have been five reported accidents and no fatalities this year.

"We'd like to see the number of accidents go down," Legates said.

Delaware law requires that children age 12 and younger wear a lifejacket while underway in any vessel on Delaware waters.

It is not illegal for recreational boat operators to consume alcohol, but just as for automobile drivers, a blood alcohol content of .08 or above is legally intoxicated.

Delaware law also says anyone born after Jan. 1, 1978, must complete a boating safety course in order to operate a boat in Delaware waters, including personal watercraft. An 8-hour basic boating safety course is offered in multiple locations statewide, in one to four sessions. Several providers also offer a Delaware-approved online version of the boating safety course.

Carper was joined at the event by DNREC Deputy Secretary Kara Coats, Division of Fish & Wildlife Director David Saveikis and Fish & Wildlife Natural Resources Police officers, Sen. Ernie Lopez, R-Lewes, Rep. Harvey Kenton, R-Milford, Rep. Rich Collins, R-Millsboro, U.S. Coast Guard and USCG Auxiliary members. For more information, including Delaware's boating safety course schedule, access to the online Delaware Boating Handbook and other boating information, contact Boating Safety Coordinator Sgt. John McDerby at 302-739-9913 or email John.mcderby@state.de.us.



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Original Publication Date: May 24, 2016



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