According to KGO-TV in San Francisco, Coast Guard officials became suspicious when no one identified the family. They were also unable to find the sailboat's name listed on databases in any California marinas.
"We're not investigating it directly as a hoax, but we are pursuing every avenue. It's certainly a possibility," Coast Guard Cmdr. Don Montoro told reporters Tuesday. He added that the Coast Guard's investigators would take the possible hoax "very seriously."
The Coast Guard received a mayday call from a man on the boat Sunday afternoon. ""This is the Charm Blow, we are abandoning ship," the man said, after telling the Coast Guard that his boat, carrying his wife, child and the child's cousin, had started to take on water.
But Montoro added that though the Coast Guard had suspended the search, his team would continue to investigate the claim.
"From our perspective, it really doesn't matter whether it's a hoax or an actual search. We approach every search as if it is our own children," he said.