Rep. Harley Rouda Introduces Bipartisan Bill Protecting Boaters from Laser Interference | Representative Harley Rouda

Rep. Harley Rouda Introduces Bipartisan Bill Protecting Boaters from Laser Interference

May 23, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today Reps. Harley Rouda (D-CA) and Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Ranking Member on the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, together introduced H.R. 2893, the Boater Protection from Laser Pointers Act, prohibiting individuals from striking vessels in U.S. waters with laser pointer beams.

Said Rouda, “Boating is central to the culture, economy, and security of Coastal Orange County. Unfortunately, the brave members of the United States Coast Guard face unnecessary obstacles as they protect our shores. My common-sense bill will ensure the safe operation of all vessels in our waters by prohibiting pointing lasers at vessels operating in the waters of the United States.   Interference with the safe operation of boats on the coast is unacceptable, and should be prohibited by law. I thank Ranking Member Gibbs for his critical support of this bill.”

Said Gibbs, “Maritime safety is important not only to Coast Guard operations but also to private and commercial vessels.  As summer arrives and boat traffic on the Great Lakes increases, preventing incidents that the endanger safe operation of vessels should be a top priority. Using laser pointers to interfere with boats of any kind threatens the safety of those aboard and on-shore. This bill will make such interference a crime similar to laser interference with aircraft. I want to thank Representative Rouda for taking the lead on this issue.”

The U.S. Coast Guard regularly carries out homeland security missions off the coast of Orange County, including missions of search and rescue, port and waterway security, and the protection of marine resources and maritime commerce.

The bill comes as an uptick in laser incidents affecting merchant ships across the U.S. have disrupted coastguard exercises, ferry operations, and shipping.