(WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — The U.S. Coast Guard in Buffalo is searching for suspects who allegedly pointed a high-powered laser at two Coast Guard boats this summer during search and rescue operations.

One of the incidents reportedly took place in the residential area of Moon Beach, New York. The latest incident reportedly took place in the area of Lakeside Park, in Oswego, New York, from an unidentified vehicle. The Coast Guard reports the incidents took place on June 11, and July 21.

The laser reportedly illuminated the small Coast Guard boats numerous times, striking the crew in the eyes, while the crew was conducting search and rescue operations.

Although there were no injuries reported from the incidents, the Coast Guard reports “these types of actions are illegal and can cause severe effects to the crew’s safety and missions the U.S. Coast Guard conducts on a daily basis.”

Laser pointers can cause danger to small boat crews and aircrews due to glare, afterimage, flash blindness or temporary loss of night vision.

“In every instance that a U.S. Coast Guard small boat is observed on the water, they are either performing a mission, training, or transiting,” U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Mark Kuperman, Commander, Sector Buffalo stated in a news release. “As with all emergency responders, the work they do is in the best interests of the public. When struck by a laser, they cannot perform their job, and may in fact have suffered eye injuries.”

Aiming a laser pointer at an aircraft is a felony crime; Title 18 U.S. Code, Section 39A states “whoever knowingly aims the beam of a laser pointer at an aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States, or at the flight path of such an aircraft, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.”

A new law was passed in 2021 under the Elijah E. Cummings Coast Guard Authorization Act (CGAA) of 2020. It states “aiming a LASER Pointer at vessels is a violation under title 46 U.S. Code, Section 70014, which makes it unlawful to ’cause the beam of a LASER pointer to strike a vessel operating on the navigable waters of the United States.’”

“Just as a citizen would not intentionally endanger an ambulance or a firetruck moving at high speed to provide urgent care, Coast Guard boat crews are responding to life-threatening situations on the water,” stated Kuperman.

Coast Guard Investigative Service Special Agents are working with local law enforcement to investigate the incidents. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to contact U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo at 716-843-9391 or can make an anonymous report through CGIS Tips — p3tips.com/878.