The guy had never sailed the boat before and apparently had only been on it a few time over the prior 3 days before taking her out for the 1st time.... in a Tropical Storm. He apparently had no charts/ instruments or knowledge of the waters or didn't use them as Camel Back is a well know and marked shoal.
Just a long list of bad decisions resulting in a bad outcome. Had he stayed with the boat everything would have been fine. St Andrews Bay is not a really difficult place but you do not go out into any area you don't know anything about with out checking for weather
conditions and getting some understanding of the charts
and your instruments. By 5 PM the conditions here in Panama
City were far passed the conditions any reasonable boater would venture out. While the storm was not well know until mid day by most people. It was well know by about almost everyone by 5PM when bands of heavy rain and strong wind
were moving across the bay and city.
Probably the only reason someone at the docks didn't stop him was that everyone else had already secured their boats and were in safe cover themselves and no one was around to stop/ warn him.
No reason this should have ever occurred. Total lack of knowledge and disregard to obvious hazardous conditions, appears to be at blame.
Locally several variations on what "actually" occurred are floating around by those who were involved with the search/ rescue
event. Some are even more unbelievable.