It was around 10:30 p.m. Saturday in Bayville when a 40-foot SuperSport boat traveling at a high rate of speed veered off the Toms River, crashed into and demolished a gazebo, and slid to a stop right in Ann Schuld's backyard.
"I was absolutely shocked. I couldn't imagine that a boat this big could end up so far off the beach," Schuld said.
State Police say the boat's driver, 53-year-old David McDermott of Jackson, was drunk when the accident occurred.
Schuld says he came to her house this morning to apologize.
"He was extremely remorseful, he was very upset. He didn't even want to look at the boat," Schuld said.
No one was injured in this incident, but already this year, two people have died in boating accidents in New Jersey, including 18-year-old Ryan Worrall of Berkeley. Police say he drowned after a canoe overturned earlier this month during a late-night ride after a graduation party.
Authorities say some of the top factors that contribute to boating accidents include operator inexperience, inattention, speeding and alcohol.
"They don't realize they're pushing around sometimes thousands of pounds of fiberglass. If you got the wind, the waves, the sun, it can fatigue you. You couple that with alcohol use and it's a bad scenario," Trooper Richard Caputo of the New Jersey State Police said.
State Police Marine Units will be patrolling area waterways this summer looking for violators.
"We want everybody to have fun, enjoy the Jersey Shore, have a good time, but we want them to do it safely," Caputo said.
That means wearing lifejackets out on the water. Nationwide, of those who drown in boating accidents, almost 90% didn't have a life vest on.