Coast Guard officials say six of the people rescued Friday were aboard the motorboat, the Line Item, which took on water and sank about seven miles east of Bethany Beach.
Two boaters and a cat were pulled from the disabled sailboat, the Obsession.
No injuries were reported.
The Coast Guard station in Rehoboth Beach heard the mayday call. A boat crew from that station and a cutter out of Cape May, N.J., took part in the rescue.