US Coast Guard suspends search for missing Manatee Co. boater

Fraser Horne's boat was found, as was his dog, but he is missing, and a two-day search was unsuccessful.

CORTEZ, Fla. -- The search for a  missing boater out of Cortez in Manatee County has been suspended. The U.S. Coast Guard says it has not been able to reunite Frazer Horne with his family.

“He’s an experienced boater, knows how to dock it, knows how to handle the boat," said dockmaster Mike Bazzy of the Bradenton Beach Marina, who was surprised to hear his friend had gone missing.

“He was genuinely a nice person, always nice to my staff ... always friendly when he came to the marina,” said Bazzy.

   Horne, 63, would dry-dock his 30-foot Grady-White at the marina for several months when he’d travel back home to Canada.

Bazzy said, “He’d keep it in good running order and had us check it out for him at the end of the season.”

   On Friday, Horne’s wife reported him missing when he didn’t show up by dark. His dog, a golden retriever, was found at Fort Desoto Park around 8:30 that night.

Rescuers found Horne’s boat called the Gold’n Rush the next morning a few nautical miles away at Mead Point near Anna Maria Island.  The boat was running in neutral and Horne's wallet, keys and shoes were inside. 

The boat is back on its lift at Horne’s home in Cortez.

Bazzy said, “People that pay attention to taking care of their boat have experience on the water and plan for eventualities in case they fall in the water or break down.”

 The Coast Guard searched a 400-square-mile area from the Skyway Bridge to Fort Desoto and Egmont Key in Tampa Bay and on Sunday expanded the search to 3,200 square miles.

Neighbors say Horne had some health issues the last couple of years but seemed to be doing better.

Bazzy is still optimistic. He said, “I hope he’s OK — he’s really a good person.”

The dockmaster recommends these safety tips when boating:

  • Tell someone you are heading out, where you'll be and when you'll be back.
  • Make sure to have safety equipment on board such as a horn, flares, fire extinguisher, an Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and throw cushions.
  •  If you are boating alone---wear a life jacket or inflatable vest as a collar---it will inflate if you fall in the water.
     

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