• Matthew Conway was last seen going out onto the Toms River near Ocean Gate, New Jersey, in a small boat
  • He was reported missing after storms rolled through the area Tuesday
  • New Jersey State Police and the U.S. Coast Guard called off the search after finding Conway's lifejacket

The U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday it was suspending the search for a boater who disappeared off the coast of New Jersey earlier in the week after finding his lifejacket.

Matthew Conway, 67, was last seen around 10 a.m. on Tuesday while preparing to go out boating on the Toms River near Ocean Gate, New Jersey. He was seen preparing a small boat and rowing out into the water before storms rolled through the area. Conway’s wife subsequently reported him missing hours later, prompting a search by state police.

The U.S. Coast Guard was called in shortly after to aid state troopers, conducting searches by boat and air.

Areas around Ocean Gate reported Tuesday’s storms largely consisted of heavy winds and rain. Authorities said they suspected Tuesday’s storms swept Conway downriver. Initial search efforts found no signs of him.

Efforts Wednesday expanded the search area and led to the discovery of the lifejacket Conway was seen wearing in the security footage .

“With the discovery of the lifejacket, a decision was made by command to suspend the search,” Coast Guard spokesman Edward Wargo told

“If we get any new information about the case, we’ll of course reopen the search and the investigation.”

U.S. Coast Guard
A U.S. Coast Guard boat patrols Lake Michigan at the America's Cup World Series sailing event at Chicago, June 11, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young