The Chambers County Sheriff's Office received a call around 3:30 p.m. about a commercial fisherman who'd gone missing near Oak Island.
Deputies later identified the boater as 40-year-old Tony Nguyen. They said they found the boat was still in gear in the Vingt Et Un Islands off Smith Point.
Nguyen's cell phone and wallet were on board and retrieved by deputies.
Good Samaritans and the Coast Guard recovered the vessel that also had crabbing equipment on board. The search for Nguyen is expected to resume Saturday afternoon.