REDINGTON SHORES — Deviny Boese gripped the inner tube as it skipped across the warm, afternoon water off Redington Beach.
The 15-year-old had just joined three of her friends on a 23-foot twin-engine open fishing boat. They'd taken the boat without permission, authorities say. Brandon Noah, 15, drove.
The tube, which carried Deviny and 16-year-old Sarah Dobbs, suddenly drifted too near a dock. Brandon Noah tried to turn, authorities say, but it was too late. The tube flipped, then struck the dock. The impact ejected both girls, and Deviny slammed into a piling.
Brandon Noah jumped into the water and pulled out both girls. He tried to resuscitate Deviny before paramedics arrived.
She died minutes later.
Her death Tuesday comes only days after a state study concluded that Florida led the nation in boating crashes and fatalities last year. In 2011, the report said, there were 742 accidents and 67 fatalities. Pinellas ranked sixth with 36 accidents, three of them fatal.
Sarah hurt her ankle in the wreck. Neither Brandon Noah nor passenger Noah Epstein, 15, was injured.
Though the Pinellas sheriff's investigation is ongoing, authorities on Tuesday said Deviny's death appeared to be an accident. They do not think alcohol was involved.
"It appears to be just a tragic, tragic accident," said sheriff's spokeswoman Cecilia Barreda. "Very, very sad. All the way around."
Still, Brandon Noah should not have been operating the boat. Anyone younger than 17 is required to take a boating education course and carry a designated photo identification card. The teenager, investigators say, had never acquired the necessary training.
He was cited for not having proper identification and reckless operation of a vessel resulting in a fatality. Both are non-criminal offenses punishable by fines.
Later Tuesday afternoon, Deviny's mom, Doreen Boese, stood at the top of her St. Petersburg driveway and took flowers and hugs from neighbors.
Deviny was Boese's only child, a "miracle baby."
Doctors had told her she could never have children. She had three miscarriages before Deviny was born.
Deviny and her mom weren't just mother and daughter, they were also best friends.
She gave Deviny expensive gifts, including a computer and an iPhone. She bought her three dogs, two cats, two chickens and two bunny rabbits. She took her on exotic birthday trips. When Deviny was 8, they went horseback riding on a beach in Puerto Rico. Two years later, they surfed in Hawaii.
"I gave her everything she wanted," Boese said. "I'm glad I spoiled her."
Deviny was an avid cheerleader who wanted to be an orthodontist. She would have started her sophomore year this fall at Osceola High School.
Boese called her daughter "wild," but not in a bad way. She loved adventure.
"She always used to say, 'Go fast,' " her mom recalled.
Boese knew Deviny had gone boating with Sarah, but she wasn't familiar with the two boys. Her daughter had lots of friends.
For most of Deviny's life, her father, David Gallagher, wasn't around. Just three days before her death, he moved in with the mother and daughter.
"We were going to try," Boese said, "to work on being a family."
Times staff writers Kameel Stanley, Terry Tomalin and Michael Finch II contributed to this report. John Woodrow Cox can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8472.