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An 8-foot boat that kept circling in the bay after its owner was tossed into the water Friday morning was finally captured and brought into dock by Alameda County firefighters and Berkeley Marina personnel.

EMERYVILLE -- A boater was rescued after being tossed into the bay on Friday morning but his unmanned vessel kept circling for about an hour before its voyage was ended, officials said.

The seafaring saga began about 8:35 a.m. when a 47-year-old man in an 8-foot plastic dinghy was tossed into the water a couple of hundred feet offshore in the approach channel to the Emeryville Marina outside the sea wall, authorities said.

Emeryville police Sgt. Fred Dauer said the boater, whose name was not released, had just opened up the craft's throttle when the tiller did a hard jerk, possibly from a wake or submerged piece of wood, causing him to be thrown into the water.

The man, who was wearing a life jacket, was rescued by Emeryville Marina maintenance supervisor Thomas Maloney, who got him into another vessel and brought him back to the marina, where the man docks a sailboat that the dinghy is part of, said Harbor Master Don Gussler.

While the man was ashore being treated by paramedics, the small boat kept going in circles out in the water, Dauer said.

The crewless boat was finally snagged and boarded about an hour later by Alameda County firefighters and Berkeley Marina personnel, who steered it to a dock.

Maloney said the boater was taking the dinghy from Emeryville to the Berkeley Marina.