DNREC Division of Fish and Wildlife Enforcement agents cited a canoe owner for negligence after investigating a boating accident Sunday afternoon that involved four teenaged boys fishing in a farm pond near Millsboro.
Three of the teens were fishing from the canoe while the fourth, the canoe’s 16-year-old owner, fished from shore. The canoe capsized, pitching all three into the water. Two quickly swam to shore but discovered the third was still in the water and swam back to get him. He was unresponsive when pulled to shore, and was airlifted to A.I. DuPont Hospital in Wilmington, where he was treated and expected to recover. He told agents he does not know how to swim. Since all four teens are juveniles, their names are not being released.
The canoe owner was cited in the incident by Fish and Wildlife agents for allowing the use of a non-compliant vessel, in this case, for not having life jackets on board the canoe, as required by Delaware law. Under Delaware law, a boat owner is responsible for ensuring that a vessel is seaworthy and carries all required equipment, including life jackets.
“This incident could have had a tragic ending. Even though the pond isn’t very large or very deep, the water is still very cold,” said Sgt. Gregory Rhodes, Delaware Boating Safety Officer. “With the spring weather, boating and fishing season is off to an early start, and we cannot stress enough the importance of wearing life jackets, especially for non-swimmers who venture out in a boat.”