Flathead Lake Coast Guard Impersonator To Appear In Court

Aug 15, 2017

A man who allegedly posed as a U.S. Coast Guard officer and attempted to pull over boats on Flathead Lake will make his first court appearance Wednesday in Lake County Justice Court.

Ryan Lowden of Polson will be charged with three felony counts of impersonating a public official.

Lake County Undersheriff Ben Woods says his office investigated four cases of boaters claiming to have been cut off by Lowden riding a jet ski over the past two years.

View from Polson beach area overlooking southern Flathead Lake. Smoke obscures the northern Mission Mountains on the afternoon of August 23, 2016.
Credit Nicky Ouellet

“A couple of the witnesses even described him as wearing coast guard clothing, and identifying himself as such, wanting to board crafts, conduct inspections,” Woods says.

Lowden is also said to have affixed a red light on the front and rear of his jet ski. Woods said he was not aware of similar cases in the past. Images posted to the social media platform Facebook ultimately led Lake County Sheriff Deputies to identify Lowden as the suspected impersonator.

The Coast Guard maintains an all-volunteer Auxiliary stationed in Kalispell.

Lowden faces a total fine of up to $15,000 and/or 15 years jail time for three counts of impersonating a public official.