Crews are not expected to raise the Sea Tow vessel commanded by David C. McAuliffe today as the captain remains missing, his father said.

The 34-year-old Egg Harbor Township man, who was operating the 49-foot Cape Hatteras for the local Sea Tow franchise, has been missing since Tuesday, when he left Farley State Marina in Atlantic City. His on-board emergency radio beacon activated at 10:45 a.m. that day.

A diver from Northstar Marine Inc. identified the wreck on Thursday about a mile east of Ocean City, near the Great Egg Harbor Inlet.

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McAuliffe's father, David R. McAuliffe, said crews are working this morning to secure a hoist line to the vessel's stern. However, that task is complicated by how the ship is positioned in the sand on the sea floor.

Crews have already secured hoists to the 27-ton vessel's bow, McAuliffe said, but probably won't be able to lift the vessel until Sunday at the earliest.

"They're getting in position to give it a lift tomorrow when water conditions in the inlet are appropriate," he said, adding, "it's been a very long and tiring situation."

McAuliffe said he was grateful for the help of Northstar, who've kept the family updated on their work.

Now, McAuliffe said, his concern is with his son's wife, Lynsey, who faces financial, as well as emotional, challenges.

"The underlying part here is the ongoing issues left behind by my son's passing," he said. "He has a young bride who needs to be protected."

Wallace McKelvey

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