The Coast Guard said it received a radio distress call from a crewman aboard the Atlantic Traveler just before 5 a.m. saying a hydraulic hose had snapped, making them lose control of their clutch and steering mechanisms.
The vessel was drifting toward rocks in the inlet, which separates Manasquan and Point Pleasant Beach.
A Coast Guard crew pulled 58-year-old William Hill, of Brick Township; 19-year-old Matthew Morris, of Point Pleasant; and 30-year-old William Lewis, of Marshallberg, N.C., from the water. They were not injured and declined medical treatment.
The boat remained in the inlet, where crews were working to contain any fuel that might leak. Very little has escaped, a Coast Guard spokesman said, though a special skimming vessel was being brought to the inlet in case of a larger spill.
The inlet was closed to navigation while the emergency response was ongoing.