A Southern California man has been arrested for child endangerment and resisting arrest after he struck his son and threw him overboard because the child witnessed an argument between him and his girlfriend on a cruise in Newport Harbor, authorities said.

Witnesses said they saw Sloane Briles, 35, hit his son and then toss the child in the water.

The boy was saved after people on three boats in the area rushed to save him, pulling the 7-year-old to safety, according to Orange County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jim Amormino.

Briles did attempt to save his son by jumping into the water, but the boy had already been rescued.

Amormino told KTLA that the boy was shaken up but otherwise unharmed.

The girlfriend told the New York Daily News Briles was simply roughhousing with the boy and regrets his stupid judgment.

There wasn't any fighting, Jennifer Burrelli told the Daily News in an exclusive interview. He's just a goofball who's always roughhousing with his sons at the pool. He wasn't thinking.

Briles' two sons, aged seven and six, are from a previous marriage.They were both with him on the trip. Both boys saw the argument and the 7-year-old was visibly upset, Amormino said.

Burrelli said Briles, who is from Irvine, Calif., was a little intoxicated, and he just had really stupid judgment. She added that the cruise was ending and pulling in to the pier at the time.

I think he thought he could make his own rules. I think it was just teasing, she told the New York paper. His sons are his whole life... He would never ever do anything to hurt them on purpose. He knows now it could have gone badly. He doesn't even care about the arrest or his own name. He knows it was stupid.