As for why the boat was unmanned and doing over 40 mph (64.3 kph), the Sheriff's Office says that the driver was hurled overboard during operation. A good Samaritan picked him up and then called for help with the vessel. This is where the hero of the day, Deputy Fernandes, comes in.
Deputy Constant drove their own boat in pursuit of the runaway vessel and then alongside it for as long as he could, allowing Deputy Fernandes the opportunity to jump onboard. Once onboard the rogue vessel, Deputy Fernandes was able to turn off the engine and complete the mission. James Bond would've been proud!
The Sheriff's Office is using the incident to warn of the importance of safety mechanisms, and it's doing so with a bit of humor by turning the video into a joke. Body cam footage set to Van Halen's classic "Jump," and the joke that "Yes, Deputy Fernandes does his own stunts" have turned the Deputy in question into a viral star and a people's hero.
But let not the joke distract you from what is important here. As the Sheriff's Office says, if you don’t want this to happen to you – because the world is not populated with Deputy Fernandeses who might be willing to risk their lives and jump in to save the day – always remember to attach the kill switch lanyard. It's basic boat safety, and it’s also mandated by federal law as of April 2021.
A safety lanyard, which prevents precisely this kind of situation, where the operator is thrown overboard, and the boat keeps going unmanned, is mandatory on all PWCs (personal watercraft) and most powerboats shorter than 26 feet (7.9 meters). The law came into effect after observations that 4% of boating accidents occurring each year in the U.S. were caused by runaway boats.
In other words, a safety lanyard would have prevented this from happening. Knowing no one was harmed and no damage was done in this incident, it's ok to let yourself be entertained by this impromptu action star that is Deputy Fernandes. Tom Cruise, who dis?!