Daniel McCoubrey, 47, a copy editor in the sports department of The Washington Post since joining this newspaper in 1968, died of a heart attack yesterday while vacationing on the West Indies island of Antigua. He lived in Wheaton.

As a copy editor, Mr. McCoubrey was the reader's friend. Copy editors not only write the things that readers are apt to notice first -- the headlines -- but they also edit stories for accuracy, clarity, grammar and punctuation. Mr. McCoubrey did this quickly and gracefully and he also had a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of almost every organized game ever played by modern man.

In addition to his work on the copy desk, he did some reporting. He covered the 1980 British Open golf tournament and he wrote about other events, including hockey and lacrosse. A voracious reader and a bibliophile by inclination, he wrote a number of witty and informed book reviews for this paper on baseball, football, basketball, golf and the great outdoors in general.

In private life, Mr. McCoubrey was a chef, a brewer of beer and a golfer. He once published in the Post Food section his recipe for beef stew for 100 persons. He found this handy for his annual St. Patrick's Day celebration. He also wrote about golf courses for the Post Travel section and for about a decade he ran his own annual golf tournament at the Washingtonian Country Club.

As a maker and drinker of beer, he was active in Brewers United for Real Potables (BURP), a Washington organization devoted to home-brewed beers. He was a correspondent for Zymurgy, a publication of the American Home Brewers Association, and he had organized the two joint conferences of Brewers United and the American Home Brewers.

He was a member of the National Press Club and the Washingtonian Country Club.

Mr. McCoubrey was born in Troy, N.Y. He earned a bachelor's degree in English at Siena College in 1961. Before joining The Post, he worked at the Troy Record, the Times Union and Knickerbocker News, both in Albany, N.Y., and the Miami Herald.

He leaves no immediate survivors.