I remember coming into Alameda from out near Chrissy Field one New Years Eve (after watching fireworks.) Hundreds of boats, ranging in size from 100 foot tour boats to 8 foot dinghies, with a lot of alcohol likely involved. I'd guess that half the boats under 30 feet had either no lights, or incorrect lights (with a few shining spotlights around at any boat nearby.) No moon, so it was sort of like a nightmare video game. Fairly low speed run across the bay until we hit the lights of the Oakland Estuary. Really wished I had broadband radar that night.
Too bad about the accident at Catalina. I'd hazard a guess that alcohol was involved here too (why else out at 1 in the morning?) No mention of PFD's, though it sounds like injuries were from impact for the most part. Would have helped in finding the missing guy though.
Alcohol, darkness, lack of lighting, and too much speed makes for a risky trip.