Yes this is sad. A brutal way to see one's life come to an end. The primary factors are likely a lack area familiarity and rule 6 (international/inland rules of the road) concerning safe speed.
If the aids to navigation had been followed properly (run from the sea buoy to the charted channel aids to navigation) we wouldn't be reading about this. I came in Masonboro Inlet on Sunday and the aids were all on charted position.
Lights or markers at the end of jetties are impractical. The force of the waves move the rocks (easily) and typical wash structures away away. I've seen storms move 15 ton jetty rocks on the west coast. It's occasionally done on sea walls inside of semi-protected waters, but you don't typically see these on any jetties that run out into the ocean.
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