Search continues for missing boater

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Middle Township Ptl. Jason Sill is shown here receiving an award in April for catching a shoplifter at the Rio Grande KMart while off duty. The Coast Guard said it was searching for Sill after his boat was found adrift a mile off of Wildwood Monday. Middle Township Ptl. Jason Sill is shown here receiving an award in April for catching a shoplifter at the Rio Grande KMart while off duty. The Coast Guard said it was searching for Sill after his boat was found adrift a mile off of Wildwood Monday.

A massive search continues for a boater who went missing Monday.

The search began after an unmanned boat turned up about one mile east of Wildwood.

The registered owner of the boat is Jason Sill, 39, of Cape May Court House. Sill, a patrolman, has worked for the Middle Township Police Department for 13 years.

State police boats today, (Tuesday, Aug. 28) are using side-scan sonar to look at the ocean bottom and Technical Emergency And Mission Specialists unit of the state police divers are on boats in case they are needed. Middle Township divers are also on standby. 

Weather has prevented an effective air search today, but helicopters will resume the search as soon as conditions allow, state police say.

Coast Guard units from Cape May are still searching for the missing boater, according to Petty Officer 1st Class Nick Ameen. Two helicopters from Coast Guard out of Atlantic City were involved in the search at separate times Monday, he said.

The unoccupied 23-foot center console Nautic Star boat was reported by another boater after it was found adrift shortly before 11 Monday morning.  Fishing poles were in place, the keys were in the ignition and the engine was down in the water, but there was no sign of the owner/operator, according to a state police report.

The depth ranges between 20 and 30 feet in the area where the boat was located, state police say.

Witnesses reported seeing Sill take his boat out from Pier 47 Marina around 9:30 a.m. Monday. He was alone and told others at the pier that he intended on fishing in the back bay, state police say.

The U.S. Coast Guard located the boat and a state police boat towed it to the Cape May Coast Guard base where state police crime scene investigators performed a forensic evidence search.  Police say nothing suspicious was discovered.

Troopers from the Troop A Criminal Investigation Office also interviewed numerous people.

A command post for the search was quickly established at the state police marine station on Chestnut Avenue in North Wildwood.  The search on the water involved state police boats and a helicopter, U.S. Coast Guard boats and a helicopter, and personal watercraft from several beach patrols.  

The search was suspended at dark Monday night and resumed early Tuesday morning, state police say.  

Other partnering agencies include the Cape May County Prosecutor’s Office and Office of Emergency Management, Avalon Police Department, Wildwood, North Wildwood and Wildwood Crest beach patrols.

Middle Township Police Capt. John Edwards urged media not to contact Sill’s family out of respect for privacy.

Edwards said the search is being coordinated by the state police and Coast Guard.

Anyone with information about the boater's whereabouts is asked to contact the Coast Guard at (215) 271-4940.

Related: Coast Guard searching for missing boater off Wildwood


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