Family members remain confident missing boaters will come home safe

Image 1 of 2

Members of the U.S. Coast Guard launched from the Christopher Columbus boat ramp, Sunday morning, continuing the search for boaters Brian McCluney and Justin Walker, who were last seen Friday morning leaving the ramp in a 22-foot center console Robalo heading towards the "8A" reef. 

On Sunday afternoon, the Coast Guard tweeted that a civilian plane reported seeing a vessel matching the ID of the missing boat about 50 miles east of Jacksonville. The Coast Guard flew over and spotted a cooler and life jackets in the water. More crews were deployed to the area.

Unfortunately, nothing was found. The Coast Guard later tweeted the floating items found in the water was not related to the missing boaters. 

Justin Walker's wife, Natasha, said she's keeping the faith.

“Today I woke up strong, slept a little bit last night, ate something. I have faith that today's the day, so we're all optimistic,” she said.

Both men are firefighters. Walker lives in Fairfax, Virginia, and McCluney is from Jacksonville. 

Natasha Walker said the boat belonged to McCluney's father and the men were taking it on one last fishing trip before they planned to sell it. 

Coast Guard spokesman Luke Clayton said they're doing everything they could to bring the pair home safe.

“We're coordinating with global partners to try and expand the search as much as possible and cover as much ground as we can. We're searching from the Port Canaveral area, all the way up until north of Jacksonville and approximately 70-80 miles offshore,” he said.

The boaters’ families contacted the Coast Guard after they men didn’t come back as expected Friday evening. 

The Coast Guard, Navy, Brevard County Sheriff’s Office and others were all searching for the men by sea and air. 

Even the Jacksonville Fire Department set up in Port Canaveral to help with the search. 

Brian McCluney's brother, Kevin, said Brian was also a Navy combat veteran.

“If anyone can survive this, it’s my brother. Fishing is what makes him happy,” Kevin said. “Sailing is his life.”

The Walker family has been around the area passing out photos of the boat, trying to spread the word about the search to the larger boating community.

The Coast Guard is keeping both families updated. 

Natasha Walker says she's waiting for her husband to come home safe. 

“I have no doubt in my heart that he will be home,” she said.