Despite rescue efforts, boater drowns in cold Barnegat Bay
SEASIDE HEIGHTS — A 58-year-old Toms River man died Friday night after being thrown from a boat on the Barnegat Bay, police said.
State Police said Michael Boccia, 58, was thrown from the boat and witnesses tried to pull him from the water. Rescuers could not revive him.
Local police earlier said that they believed Boccia had tried to swim to shore after his boat's motor gave out but State Police, which is leading the investigation, provided New Jersey 101.5 with different information. Police did not say whether they knew why Boccia had been ejected from the boat.
The water temperature in Barnegat Bay at the nearest monitoring station near Barnegat Light was around 50 degrees on Friday.
The National Weather Service says swimming in water at that temperature causes cold shock and an immediate loss of breathing control.
"This dramatically increases the risk of sudden drowning even if the water is calm and you know how to swim. The danger is even greater if the water is rough. Immersion in cold water is immediately life-threatening for anyone not wearing thermal protection, like a wetsuit or drysuit, and not wearing a life jacket," according to the NWS.
State Police are leading the investigation into the drowning.
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