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Coast Guard calls off search for missing boater

The Coast Guard suspended its search for a Massachusetts man on Friday, 24 hours after his sailboat ran aground near Cape Elizabeth. (WGME)

CAPE ELIZABETH (WGME) – The Coast Guard suspended its search for a Massachusetts man on Friday, 24 hours after his sailboat ran aground near Cape Elizabeth

"We believe that any further searching would be futile at this point," said LCDR Jeff Bryant.

Bryant said they threw everything they had at this case and calling it off isn't easy.

He said the search started around 6 p.m. Thursday, when a local fire department found a 33-foot sailboat that had run aground on an island off of Cape Elizabeth, but nobody was on board.

Bryant said the boat, which had its sails up and a skiff in tow, belongs to Richard Pratt, 80, of Massachusetts.

"According to his family, he's a very experienced sailor, been doing this for many years," Bryant said.

He said Pratt was sailing from Isle of Shoals to Wood's Island near Biddeford.

"The operator kept a very detailed log book," said Bryant.

That book helped the Coast Guard narrow the search area to Saco Bay and Boon's Island, which sits about six miles off the coast of York.

They searched on the water and in the air, with mostly good weather. Bryant said there was no signifigant damage to the boat, and no sign of distress.

"When you look at our survival model, at this point, any further searching, we don't believe we'd be recovering a live person at this point," said Bryant.

The Coast Guard is reminding even the most experienced of boaters to always wear a life jacket and leave a plan with friends or family members, which can be helpful should something happen out at sea.

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