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Press Release | Aug. 9, 2023

Coast Guard detects 16 unauthorized drones during Seafair Weekend Festival

Editor's Note: Click on images to download high-resolution versions.

SEATTLE — The Coast Guard employed Counter-Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) capabilities in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Seattle Police Department (SPD), and Mercer Island Police Department (MIPD) to enforce the FAA-issued temporary flight restrictions on Lake Washington during the 2023 Seafair Weekend Festival in support of the airshow.

This is the first year Coast Guard counter-UAS has been employed at Seafair.

The Coast Guard detected 16 UAS operators violating airspace restrictions during the H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Races and Boeing Air Show. Officers from SPD and MIPD were able to contact eight UAS operators and provide education on airspace restrictions as well as safe UAS operations.

One operator was cited for reckless endangerment by the Seattle Police Department.

“Unauthorized UAS can be extremely dangerous to airshow pilots, as well as spectators,” said Cmdr. Scott McGrew, the Coast Guard incident commander for SeaFair. “Our robust partnership with the FAA, Seattle Police and Mercer Island Police Department is vital to ensure unauthorized UAS operators are intercepted and educated on safe operations and reminded of the FAA Temporary Flight Restrictions in place to support the airshow.”

UAS operators are reminded to check or the b4ufly app to verify the airspace is authorized for UAS flight.