The Coast Guard has recently experience a rash of laser attacks.
Dec.1, an H-65 from Port Angeles. “A Coast Guard helicopter crew was forced to cut a training mission short after they were targeted by someone with a laser near Port Angeles Monday night…The MH-65 Dolphin helicopter crew was airborne when a laser was shined at them around 6:30 p.m, forcing the crew to abort the mission and return immediately to Air Station Port Angeles, where they landed safely.”
1 Dec. an H-65 from Traverse City. “On Monday at 8:30 p.m., a Coast Guard MH-65 helicopter with Coast Guard Air Station Traverse City, Michigan, was hit with a laser while flying in the vicinity of Lake Okeechobee, Florida. Crewmembers aboard the aircraft reported the laser came from land.”
3 Dec. “…a 45-foot motor lifeboat crew at Coast Guard Station Channel Islands that four of the members were struck twice with a laser while transiting near the Channel Islands Harbor entrance. Crewmembers reported that the laser came from shore and once they energized their blue law-enforcement light, the laser desisted.”
Fortunately there were apparently no injuries.
As noted in the one of the press releases, “Pointing a laser at an aircraft is a federal crime and a felony offense under Title 18, United States Code, Section 39A. If found guilty, offenders could be fined up to $250,000 and sentenced to five years in prison. ”
Don’t know what the punishment for pointing a laser at a boat crew is, but it should also be significant.
There was also an incident where a Washington State Ferry Captain and Mate were injured by a laser in October. The laser involved was much more powerful than the typical laser pointer used to accompany presentations or tease cats. The person with the laser was caught and the laser taken as evidence but he still hasn’t been charged.
I do worry about USCG air and boat crews overreacting to an inappropriately perceived danger from the use of laser distress signals, I carry one in my PFD and plan to supplement my strobe/flares with it should I ever need rescue. I’d hate for the pilots to head back to the air station for an eye exam in stead of rescuing me. Reports from independent sources like Doug Ritter, Practical Sailor Magazine, and Cruising World Magazine all suggest that these devices are effective without some the drawbacks of pyrotechnic devices.
The guy who lazed the ferry crew was levied a $100,000 fine by the USCG
If pointers were not bad enough. Here is a new threat, blinding laser weapons.
Would not be surprised if these were on every smuggler’s Christmas list. http://freebeacon.com/national-security/chinese-military-using-blinding-laser-weapons/
why couldn’t they wear special goggles or visors to block it out? Sounds like a stupid question i know.
Good question, but if it is at night, remember they pilot and probably the aircraft are using light amplifying technology, rather than light attenuating tech.
These things can destroy night vision devices as well as blind the crew.
Another incident, this one at Grand Haven with the Laser pointed at a boat. Apparently this has happened numerous times there. http://www.uscgnews.com/go/doc/4007/2804549/
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Following from http://brymar-consulting.com/: “The US Coast Guard issued a notice announcing that it intends to enter into a cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) with Metamaterials Technologies USA Inc. to evaluate and test the advantages, disadvantages, required technology enhancements, performance, costs, and other issues associated with laser eye protection technology. Comments must be submitted by 24 June. 81 Fed. Reg. 38726 (6/14/16) [https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2016-06-14/pdf/2016-14038.pdf].”
R&D center is looking for eye protection. http://coastguard.dodlive.mil/2018/02/rdte-spotlight-cockpit-laser-strike-protection/
Port Angeles helo crewman suffers eye damage. https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/coast-guard-aircrew-member-hurt-in-laser-strike/
Looking for a solution, and why it is difficult. https://www.c4isrnet.com/electronic-warfare/2018/08/13/coast-guard-partners-with-air-force-to-protect-eyes-from-lasers/