A Washington man has been fined $9,500 for shining a high-powered blue laser into the the wheelhouse of the Washington State Ferry (WSF) Tokitae on October 22, 2015.
According to the Coast Guard, Mark Raden of Freeland, Wash. was aboard the WSF Kitsap transiting between Mukilteo and Clinton when he pointed the laser at the Tokitae, striking the vessel's master and chief mate in the eyes. The Tokitae was carrying 106 passengers at the time of the incident.
Raden, who has a history of lasering incidents, also pled guilty to reckless endangerment in Island County Superior Court for his conduct and was ordered to serve 15 days in jail, perform 240 hours of community service, and pay $3,740.89 in restitution to the master and chief mate. He will also serve 24 months of probation.
In April, Raden was initially issued a $100,000 fine for charges stemming from this incident. The final, reduced civil penalty amount was determined by a Coast Guard Hearing Officer in Arlington, Va.
"Interfering with the safe operation of a vessel, particularly a large passenger vessel, endangers all of those on board and can also result in significant environmental impacts, said Cmdr. Darwin Jensen, Coast Guard Sector Puget Sound chief of prevention. "This one person's irresponsible actions could have had a much more tragic outcome for the passengers of the Tokitae as the vessel was preparing to arrive in Clinton. The Coast Guard will pursue appropriate criminal or civil enforcement actions against anyone who interferes with the safe operation of vessels."
In May, the Coast Guard said that maritime laser strikes were on the rise in Washington State.