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By Phil Helsel

The Coast Guard will continue searching through the night for a pair of 14-year-old boaters who went missing during a trip off the coast of Florida nearly a week ago.

So far Coast Guard cutters and aircraft have searched nearly 44,000 square miles in its effort to find Austin Stephanos and Perry Cohen, who disappeared Friday after heading out on a fishing trip, the Coast Guard said.

The area searched so far is roughly the size of Alabama, and stretches from Daytona Beach to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Ashley Johnson said.

Two Coast Guard cutters and a HC-130 search and rescue plane conducted three more searches Thursday.

That number is down from six cutters and other small boats that were involved in the search Tuesday, two days after the 19-foot boat the boys set out on was found capsized 67 miles east of Ponce de Leon Inlet, Florida.

Johnson said the search is fluid, and the amount of resources used changes depending on developments. There has been no decision as to how long the search will continue, she said.

Austin and Perry were last seen near Jupiter, Florida, at around 1:30 p.m. Friday after buying fuel.

The boys’ mothers said Thursday that Austin and Perry are experienced boaters, and are resourceful enough to survive at sea.

"I think they've made a raft, between the cooler and the life jackets and whatever else they can find floating," said Carly Black, Austin's mother.

"My husband keeps saying that he thinks one of them made a spear pole and they're out there eating sushi. These boys are like mini-MacGyvers," she said, referring to the inventive television character.