Pierce clung to a life preserver and tried to re-board the vessel, but the wind blew it ashore.
Another man, Dan Kriz, spotted Pierce from his sailboat after about 15 minutes and pulled him onboard.
"They saw that there was nobody in the boat and so they knew somebody was in the water. And so they started looking," said Pierce. "I was waving my shirt over my head when I saw the boat, and thank God they saw me and came and picked me up."
Kriz called officials who helped Pierce retrieve his boat.
The Orange County harbor patrol says the water was warm enough that hypothermia was never an issue.
"We hope we would have found him eventually, but it's a big ocean sometimes and it's a good thing he found him," said Sgt. Dave Ginther of the Orange County Sheriff's harbor patrol.
City News Service contributed to this story.