Kelly Blake, 24, died when the boat she was in collided with another in the San Joaquin Delta in California.
Her boat went under the other craft when they crashed into each other as they were rounding a narrow curve, witnesses said. She died at the scene.
The young woman had more than 25,000 followers on Instagram, where she posted modeling shots under the name LusciousBlake.
Friends and family have taken to social media to remember Kelly. One friend, Jessica Platt, wrote: “I loved our selfie photoshoots and your beautiful spirit.”
Eric Stark, who witnessed the crash, told news: “Two boats were coming around the corner at the same time and they hit head-on. One boat went over another.”
The other boat in the collision, reportedly a large Malibu speedboat, drove over the smaller boat containing Kelly Blake.
A passerby who stopped to offer help said: “I have never seen anything like this. That helpless girl died in my arms.”
Officials said Kelly Blake suffered fatal injuries resulting from massive trauma and blood loss. When police arrived on the scene, she was already dead and five others were injured.
The crash was caused by human error as the young woman’s boat was traveling on the wrong side of the water, reports said. Authorities are investigating the possibility that alcohol was a factor.