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John R. Hagerty, State Police Public Information Office
(609) 882-2000 x6515

Sgt. Al Della Fave
(609) 882-2000 x6514


State Police, U.S. Coast Guard, PA. Fish & Game Commission & Phila. P.D. Marine Unit
Join To Patrol Delaware River


       Burlington City - Recognizing May 19-25 as "National Safe Boating Week," Colonel Carson J. Dunbar, Jr., Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, today announced that troopers assigned to marine patrol stations throughout the state will be "on the water" working to reduce boating fatalities and accidents throughout the 2001 boating season.

      In announcing "National Safe Boating Week" and the "Boat Smart From The Start. Wear Your Life Jacket" theme, the New Jersey State Police presented a proclamation from Acting Governor Donald T. DiFrancesco to members of the New Jersey Boat Regulation Commission. The executive proclamation is a recognition of New Jersey's participation in "National Safe Boating Week" and represents a commitment to boaters that the State Police is promoting safe boating and working to decrease boating accidents and tragedies.

       Joining State Police in making the announcement were New Jersey Boat Regulation Commission Chairman Roger K. Brown, Chief Warrant Officer Hartline of the United States Coast Guard-Philadelphia Station, CO Pedrick of the Pennsylvania Boat and Fish Commission, Lt. Ondrejka of the Philadelphia Police Department Marine Unit and representatives of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the U.S. Power Squadron.

       Throughout the upcoming recreational boating season, New Jersey state troopers, U.S. Coast Guardsmen, PA Fish & Game Commission officers and Phila. P.D. marine patrol officers will be patrolling the Delaware River and surrounding waterways, targeting the aggressive, inattentive and drunk boater. Additionally, state troopers will participate in a public education effort sponsored by the 2001 North American Safe Boating Campaign Committee which is geared to increase the use of personal flotation devices (PFDs).

      The State Police also reminded the boating public that New Jersey's boating laws and regulations now require that all persons 12 years old and under must wear a PFD while onboard a vessel that is underway. (The PFD may be removed if the vessel is anchored, tied to a dock or if the child is inside a fully enclosed cabin.)

       Additionally, New Jersey's boating laws require:

  • Operators of personal watercraft (PWCs or Jet Ski's) must be at least 16 years of age;
  • Persons born after Jan. 1, 1979 must have a state boating safety certificate in their possession when operating any power vessel;
  • Persons born on or before Dec. 31, 1978 must have a state boating safety certificate in their possession when operating a personal watercraft, and;
  • Operators on non-tidal waters must have a New Jersey Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) boating license in addition to a state boating safety certificate.
  • Jet ski operators caught without a certificate will be subject to fines ranging from $100 to $500.

       Other statutory and/or regulatory changes to New Jersey's boating laws have greatly increased State Police effectiveness in curtailing water-related offenses. Several of the more notable changes include tailoring fines to fit particular offenses; reclassifying boating violations to parallel motor vehicle offenses; developing a computer database (in conjunction with the Division of Motor Vehicles) that can immediately access the operation history of a particular boater and obtaining the authority to immediately remove a boater from the water whose privilege to operate a vessel has been suspended or revoked.

       In 2000, troopers assigned to the State Police Marine Services Bureau logged 31,846 on-the-water patrol hours and 889 additional hours involved in search and rescue operations; issued 1,385 summonses and 6,939 warnings; made 7,070 safety equipment boardings; investigated 170 criminal complaints resulting in 119 criminal arrests; responded to 119 pollution complaints which resulted in 18 arrests; arrested 32 drunken boat operators and assisted 653 stranded boaters.

       Although numbers of fatalities have fluctuated, boating-related accidents involving all vessels have continually declined since mandatory education and minimum age requirements became effective in July, 1996.

2000 203 14 3
1999 220 7 2
1998 244 11 4
1997 253 7 1
1996 272 18 3
1995 357 7 -

       The New Jersey State Police maintain five waterfront stations statewide with patrol responsibilities for territorial seas extending to three nautical miles offshore along the 127 miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline. Additionally, State Police patrol more than 1,750 miles of interior tidal shoreline, 100 inland bays, rivers, creeks and coves and more than 800 lakes and ponds covering over 700 square miles.

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