Earlier this month the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission reported that a boating incident on the Intracoastal just north of Marineland killed a man and injured several other people.
On Wednesday, FWC issued a report identifying the man who died as Thomas Daquila, 52, a resident of Cherokee Court in Palm Coast since 2017. All four other occupants of the boat were from Palm Coast.
FWC’s report lists both Kimberly Moore–Daquila’s wife–and William McClean, 56, as piloting, as a previous version of this story reported. But the FWC report is incorrect in that regard, as FWC’s Lt. Scott Dack acknowledged when reached this afternoon: McClean was the driver. (Moore appears as also an “Operator” or “victim” only because the report form makes no provision for a more precise listing, Dack said, noting that “this is an issue.” FWC, he said, “maybe need a way of underlining or eliminating” categories that do or do not apply, and that he would take the matter up with officials there: “I will go further at this end and see what can be done.”)
The boat, 32-foot 2020 Glasstream, was traveling south on the Intracoastal near marker 82 in St. Johns County at 4:38 p.m. on Jan. 2. “For unknown reasons, the vessel ran aground on Rattlesnake Island and ejected three of the occupants,” the report states. The report states that the crash was alcohol-related. The investigation is continuing.
Gary Lane, 60, and McClean were injured and taken to Halifax hospital in Daytona Beach. Moore and Michelle McClean, 53, were not injured.
Daquila’s body was removed by the medical examiner’s office in St. Augustine for an autopsy. Several FWC officers and investigators responded, as did the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office. The State Attorney’s Office was also notified, according to FWC. Arrests are not pending as of the issuance of the report.
Daquila was a native of Yonkers, N.Y., and an 11-year veteran of the U.S. Navy who’d moved to Florida in 2002, working as an electrical engineer for the Department of Defense, according to his obituary. “He loved hanging out with family and friends, watching football and golfing.” He had two sons, four daughters and two step-daughters.
Florida leads the country in boating-incident fatalities, with 70 in 2020, the last year for which FWC has comparative statistics, 15 more than Texas. California is third, with 37. In 2021, Florida had 60 boating fatalities. The state has just over 1 million registered vessels. Alcohol use is rare in such fatalities, however–with just two such cases in 2021. That year, the state recorded 469 injuries from boating incidents, down from the previous year’s record of 534. Boaters were ejected in 40 percent of those cases.
Flagler County has a total of 6,571 registered vessels, all but a handful recreational. The county recorded 3 boating incidents in 2021 and one fatality.
Pull up a chair to the Intra-Coastal Waterway on any given weekend day and watch the calamity. Palm Coast doesn’t have much to do, so everyone and their brother pile massive amounts of people, frequently above what is recommended for their vessel, and race like maniacs to the one place to go: the inlet. Most have no clue of the rules of boating, have no clue of the wildlife all around them and no clue as how to behave. I watched one boat, at high speed, pass another while a third boat tries to pass the first two in a narrow part of the channel. I’ve seen them pass small boats, SUPs, kyacks, fishermen, etc. without slowing down out of simple manners. It’s a free for all, like I-95 without painted lanes. I know the vast majority of these people don’t know what the hell they are doing, and then, like a joke, the Sheriff’s Department’s COP expensive boat with its uniformed volunteers goes flying by, I guess to get BBQ. Completely insane, and totally out of control. No one is monitoring this.
Celia Pugliese says
This is why I stopped water ski and other related boat activities and sold my boat is scary out there and now no FWC or Sheriff enforcing the speeds markers around like we had in 1991 when I moved here. They fly by inside this saltwater canals oblivious of the fewer winding down manatee safety! Just sickening.