Response crews see an increase of arrests on Lake Washington during Seafair

Petty Officer 2nd Drew Allen and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Kuehl perform field sobriety tests on a boater during Seattle’s Seafair, Aug. 5, 2017. The Coast Guard, along with local law enforcement agencies, engaged the public to help ensure a safe boating experience and to minimize potential dangers associated with driving a boat under the influence. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lara Davis)

Petty Officer 2nd Drew Allen and Petty Officer 2nd Class Jordan Kuehl perform field sobriety tests on a boater during Seattle’s Seafair, Aug. 5, 2017.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Lara Davis)

SEATTLE – Coast Guard personnel, working with local and state law enforcement agencies, saw an almost 70% increase in arrests on Lake Washington during the Seafair events this past weekend.

Forty-four arrests were conducted this year compared to last year’s 26 arrests, with this year’s including 43 arrests for operating a vessel while under the influence and one for reported possession of cocaine.

Safety enforcement operations on Lake Washington started on Thursday and concluded Sunday evening. Approximately 25 assets were in operation throughout the weekend events, including 12 Coast Guard vessels operated day and night by crews from Coast Guard Station Seattle, Coast Guard Maritime Safety and Security Team 91101, Coast Guard Maritime Forces Protection Unit Bangor, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound Boarding Team, Coast Guard Cutter Sea Lion, Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf and the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Also on the water were law enforcement assets from Seattle Harbor Police, Mercer Island Police, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

All arrests were processed by local law enforcement officers at a portable facility located at Proctor Landing on Mercer Island, run by the Mercer Island Police Department in conjunction with the Washington State Patrol.

“While we did see an increase in arrests this year, there were no major injuries or fatalities, which is a huge success,” said Lt. Cmdr. Jason Hagen, incident commander for the lake operations. “This is one of the biggest multiagency operations we conduct each year, and we rely heavily on the joint cooperation of all agencies, to keep the public safe.”

While enforcement operations were conducted on the water, shore side operations were conducted to educate boaters and ensure compliance with safety requirements including the laws for having life jackets and required safety equipment, as well as the dangers and legalities of operating a vessel while intoxicated.

The last recorded fatality during Lake Washington Seafair events was a drowning that occurred on the last day of events in 2015.

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