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Ky Tim
09-17-2009, 03:13 PM
from The Outdoor Wire

http://www.theoutdoorwire.com/

West Virginia Pirates Arrested

West Virginia has no oceans but it does have pirates, as proven by a recent investigation conducted by Division of Natural Resources (DNR) conservation officers.

"These pirates don't wear eye patches or carry swords, but they do steal money," said Capt. Kaven Ransom of the DNR District 4 Office in Beckley. A "band" of whitewater pirates operating on the New River recently were nabbed by DNR conservation officers.

Whitewater rafting outfitters in West Virginia are required to be licensed and follow the rules and regulations established by DNR. In order to be licensed, the outfitters must provide their employees extensive training and the most up-to-date equipment and hold a valid liability insurance policy. These laws were passed to ensure that the public will have a wonderful experience, yet be provided all the necessary equipment and experienced guides for their safety. Pirate outfitters are not licensed and generally do not have the best equipment or training, according to Capt. Ransom.

The Law Enforcement Section of DNR received information from a confidential source that a pirate outfitter was taking groups down the New River. Conservation officers in District 4 followed up on the tip and made contact with the alleged pirate outfitter. After numerous phone conversations, a trip was finally booked. On September 10, 2009, a group of undercover officers met the three pirate guides, paid $30 a head as instructed by the guides, and promised a tip at the end of the trip if they had a good time.

After everyone got their equipment and received instructions, uniformed officers pulled up to the river location. According to Capt. Ransom, one of the guides stated, "Here comes theDNR. Just tell them we're friends, and that we did not charge you any money." The three pirate outfitters, a male from Tennessee, another male from Colorado, and a female from Massachusetts, were arrested and charged with guiding without a license and conspiring. Other charges may be brought later. Their equipment was confiscated, as well as a small quantity of drugs.

"Pirate outfitters, just like other illegal operations, disregard and violate existing rules to meet their own personal agendas," said Capt. Ransom. "Unfortunately in this instance, it could have long-term repercussions to the whitewater industry, such as a decline in activity or harm to the reputation of legal outfitters. Legal outfitters have to purchase licenses and equipment, constantly train their personnel, and maintain records for the DNR. The pirates don't care about their clients or their safety - only a quick buck. For their own safety, anyone seeking a whitewater adventure should make sure to contract only with a licensed outfitter."

kytroutman
09-17-2009, 04:15 PM
ARRRR maties

rivergal
09-18-2009, 04:30 PM
Saturday is talk like a pirate day for all you swashbucklers.