Police confirmed that Palmer, 41, had been fishing with a friend when the two men fell into the water and became separated from the boat in difficult conditions.
“The men are believed to have been standing in the back of their boat when a wave hit it and knocked them overboard around midnight,” a police spokesman said.
“The prevailing conditions did not allow the men to swim back to their boat.”
Police said the two men had attempted to swim back to the mainland together, but became separated in the dark.
Passersby on a commercial fishing boat rescued the 45-year-old man’s partner northeast of Sandfly Creek, but Palmer could not be found.
After five days of intense searching, the boat was located this afternoon on a reef northeast of Cairns.
The driver of a passing boat saw the Quintrex Coastal Corridor capsize and immediately notified authorities.
“A helicopter was dispatched to investigate and it was confirmed to be the boat belonging to the missing fisherman,” a police statement read.
The ship has been recovered and transported to Cairns.
Searches for Mr Palmer, which included Queensland Maritime Safety, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), Coast Guard, Volunteer Marine Rescue, Surf Lifesaving Queensland and QGAir have now been scaled back.
Mr. Palmer’s family has been informed that the boat has now been located.