Kinsella, who was 20, had come to Cape Cod from her home in Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow, for a summer break from her studies. She had joined a group of her Irish friends aboard the 58-foot charter boat for a Sunday night cruise in the harbor. A total of 60 people were on board: three crew, one disc jockey, and 55 other passengers, more than a dozen of whom were students from Ireland.
Although 30 of the passengers were under the Massachusetts legal drinking age of 21, large quantities of alcohol were readily available to the passengers, each of whom had paid $35 for the party cruise. The night of fun turned tragic around 11 p.m., when word quickly spread that Kinsella had fallen overboard, evidently through a broken railing on the boat