It was around 5:45 a.m. when Ocean City Public Works personnel, who were out cleaning the beach, came across a body by the waterline near 24th Street.
Ocean City Police called in State Police who confirmed the body as that of the 34-year-old McAuliffe.
An autopsy determined he died of accidental drowning.
For seven years, McAuliffe worked for Sea Tow, which aides stranded boats. McAuliffe disappeared when his boat, the Cape Hatteras, sank off the Great Egg Harbor Inlet on April 23rd.
The 49-foot-long boat was raised Sunday after it was found upside down and partially buried in sand on Thursday night.
His distraught widow, Lynsey, remembered the man she had known for years and married in 2010.
"He was my soul mate. The Lord put him on the earth for me and my daughter, to take care of us. There is not a doubt in my mind," she said.
McAuliffe was described as a gentle, humble, soft-spoken man who loved working on the water.
"It has always been his passion. He loved the water, it meant everything to him. He dedicated his entire career to working on the water," Lynsey said.
Lynsey thanked friends and strangers who have reached out.
"It has been an outpouring of support, and I am so grateful and I will never be able to repay all these people and all they have done for me and my daughter," she said.
Meanwhile, the owners of Sea Tow, Capt. John and Sandy McLaughlin, sent out the following statement:
"After working with us for 10 years, Capt. Dave McAuliffe was like a son to us. We are heartbroken, as is the entire Sea Tow Atlantic City team. As our Lead Captain, Dave was an integral part of our operation, and we will miss him greatly. This is an incredibly hard time for his family and friends. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they grieve his loss."