Man Fined for Laser Strike on Washington State Ferry, Sentenced to 15 Days in Jail

File photo of the WSF Tokitae
File photo of the WSF Tokitae

A Washington state man has been fined $9,500 by the Coast Guard and ordered to serve 15 days in jail for shining a high-powered laser at the wheelhouse of a Washington State Ferry in October. 

According to the Coast Guard, Mark Raden of Freeland, Washington was aboard the WSF Kitsap transiting between Mukilteo and Clinton on October 22 when he pointed the laser at the WSF Tokitae, with 106 passengers on board, and struck the vessel’s master and chief mate in the eyes.

Raden, who has a history of lasering incidents, was assessed a $9,500 civil penalty by the Coast Guard Hearing Officer for interfering with the safe operation of the vessel. He 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.

“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.”