WILMINGTON, N.C. (WNCT) The Coast Guard on Thursday suspended the search for two boaters who went missing in the waters near Beaufort Inlet earlier this week.

The search began early Tuesday for George Hamilton Andrews, who is from Raleigh, and William “Bill” Watkins Merriman IV from Wilmington. They were last seen departing from Atlantic Beach Sunday for a fishing trip aboard the 35-foot recreational boat Strike Zone.

A family member of one of the passengers confirmed with watchstanders that the vessel departed Atlantic Beach on November 8 with two persons on board to fish near the shore.

“After the utmost consideration and careful review of all factors involved in this search and rescue case, the Coast Guard has made the difficult decision to suspend its active search efforts,” said Captain Matt Baer, Sector Commander for Coast Guard Sector North Carolina. “The decision to suspend a search is never easy and our sincere thoughts go out to the families and friends of Mr. Andrews and Mr. Merriman during this incredibly trying time.”

Involved in the search were:

  • Coast Guard Station Fort Macon 47-foot Motor Life Boat
  • Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter 
  • Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk
  • Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, and Beaufort fire departments
  • National Park Service rangers

If you have any information contact the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina Command Center at 910- 343-3880.