Authorities say the 30-year-old man, whose name and hometown were not immediately disclosed, was in the area to visit a cousin.
He had taken the canoe out on Farrington Lake around noon Saturday and was last seen in an area between Route 18 and Ryders Lane in East Brunswick.
After the man failed to return by dusk, his cousin called authorities around 7:30 p.m. Several police officers, firefighters and divers soon began searching the waterway and surrounding area, and they eventually found the 16-foot canoe but not its oars.
. The search was suspended just after midnight, then resumed around 6:30 a.m. Sunday.