Date: July 15, 2013
Contact: Patricia Smith
Jim Kelley Promoted to Marine Patrol Major
MOREHEAD CITY — In his 24 years with the N.C. Marine Patrol, Jim Kelley has worked all over coastal North Carolina.
This is one of the reasons he is the perfect choice for the new Marine Patrol major.
“Jim’s been stationed in all three Marine Patrol districts of the state, which means he understands the fishing activities statewide,” said Marine Patrol Col. Rex Lanier.
Kelley, most recently captain in the Wilmington Marine Patrol District, received the golden oak leaves of a major in a pinning ceremony today at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries Headquarters in Morehead City.
The major is second in command in Marine Patrol ranks. The position supervises all Marine Patrol field operations for the state, which cover 2.7 million acres of ocean and coastal waters and 4,000 miles of shoreline in 21 counties.
Kelley began his career with Marine Patrol in 1989 as a field officer patrolling the Belhaven area. He was promoted through the ranks to sergeant, then lieutenant, moving to Dare County then the Wilmington Area. In November 2008, he was promoted to captain.
In addition to his extensive knowledge of fisheries across the state, Kelley is also known for going out of his way to help the fishing public understand and abide by regulations, Lanier said.
Lanier recalled a time several years ago when Marine Patrol cited a charter boat owner for operating without a for-hire fishing license. Afterward, Kelley learned that the charter boat operator could not read well, and, therefore, didn’t think he could pass the test to get his U.S. Coast Guard Captain’s License, which was a requirement of the state for-hire license.
“Jim helped him get through it,” Lanier said. “He helped him get set up in a special class, and he (the charter boat operator) was able to get his captain’s license.”
Kelley said helping the public understand regulations is just a common sense way to get the public to comply with the rules.
“Anytime that there are changes, and the public doesn’t understand what’s going on, it makes it difficult for them to accept it,” Kelley said. “Once they understand why a regulation is needed and what is required of them, it makes our job easier.”
Kelley replaces Major Harold Knudsen, who retired May 1.
He will relocate to the Morehead City area with his wife, Bonnie. He also has two grown children: stepson Jason Wheeler, of Wilmington, and daughter Kandice Dean, of Greenville.
Contact Kelley at 252-808-8133 or Jim.M.Kelley@ncdenr.gov. Download high-resolution photos of Kelley and the pinning ceremony at http://portal.ncdenr.org/web/mf/071513-jkelley-nr-photos.