SEATTLE — A Coast Guard boatcrew was hit by a green laser light while underway near the Squalicum Harbor area of Bellingham, Wednesday night, ending a valuable training opportunity due to medical concerns.
The crew aboard a 45-foot Response Boat – Medium, from Coast Guard Station Bellingham, had to return to base and a backup boatcrew had to be called to stand the remainder of the watch.
Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound were notified of the incident by the affected boatcrew at 8:30 p.m. The incident cancelled the scheduled routine operations with a helicopter crew from Coast Guard Air Station Port Angeles.
“Boat and helicopter operators can be temporarily blinded by green laser lights during night operations,” said Cmdr. Brian Meier, Sector Puget Sound Response Department head. “There have been several laser light incidents in Washington involving not only our crews, but commercial operators as well. As a safety authority, we are very concerned about these incidents causing accidents or delaying emergency responses.”
The local harbor security office and Watcom County police responded to the location near Boulevard Park, but were unable to locate the suspected violators.
If anybody has any information about this incident or other green laser light incidents, they are encouraged to contact their local Coast Guard unit or local law enforcement.