SPD’s Swat Unit Gets Trial By Water

Seattle police are reviewing a training mishap on Lake Union earlier this month in which a police boat flipped, dumping about a dozen members of SPD’s elite SWAT unit into the drink.

The March 17th training—a joint operation between the SWAT and Harbor Patrol unit, which is based on Lake Union—was designed to give SWAT officers practice boarding vessels on the high seas at high speeds.

During a video of the training, which was filmed by Washington’s Most Wanted, SWAT officers can be seen slipping and sliding all over their boat as they try to board a second Harbor Patrol vessel at high speed. But what the video doesn’t show is the collision between a Harbor Patrol boat and SWAT’s 25-foot inflatable raft, which flipped one of the boats and left about a dozen fully armored SWAT officers floating in the lake.


According to Seattle Police Department spokesman Sean Whitcomb, the incident caused “minor damage” to one police boat, which ended up upside down in the water. Electronic equipment on the vessel “that isn’t normally subjected to the water got wet,” Whitcomb says, and “needed to be allowed to dry.”

According to Whitcomb, no one was injured in the incident and SWAT officers did not lose any firearms, as live weapons were not used in the training. However, several police radios and cellphones were doused and destroyed.