The search for a 33-year-old Thomaston man missing since Thursday afternoon after he planned on going clamming off St. George has been suspended Friday afternoon but will resume at low tide Saturday.

The Maine Marine Patrol, which is leading the search for Paul Benner, announced the suspension on Friday evening.

"Marine Patrol suspended the search today at around 3 and will resume it tomorrow at low tide. The search will continue in the coming days in and around Long Cove as weather permits," according to the Marine Patrol.

The Marine Patrol, the Knox County Sheriff's Office, the Coast Guard, local fire departments and private individuals turned out Thursday night for the search based at the former Great Eastern Mussel Farm dock off Long Cove Road which is where Benner departed for clamming.

Benner was last seen at about 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 4, when he went out on his 14-foot skiff to go clamming. His father reported him missing shortly before 11 p.m.

Benner's skiff was located at about midnight a few hundred yards from the causeway at Clark Island, which is located across the cove from the dock where Benner left. Other equipment from Benner's skiff including an anchor and cleam gear were found in the middle of Long Cove at low tide Friday morning, according to the Maine Marine Patrol which is heading up the search.

The Marine Patrol and fire departments from local towns including St. George, South Thomaston and Thomaston have searched the cove and shoreline and Coast Guard boats from the stations in Boothbay Harbor and Rockland have searched further offshore.

A Coast Guard helicopter also flew over the search area Friday morning.

The search began in the wake of a major winter storm that produced near-record high tides, high seas and heavy winds. The National Weather Service reported near shore seas of 10 to 15 feet. Seas in the waters between Long Cove Road and Clark Island were reported to be about 2 feet early Friday morning.The Maine State Police/Marine Patrol dive team has been called in to participate in the search.