U.S. Coast Guard and Navy crews cooperated in the Friday afternoon rescue about 40 miles from the North County coast, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported.
Crew members aboard the USS Boxer first spotted people aboard the disabled boat waving their arms to signal distress. The 16 on board the boat were then picked up by the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Petrel.
The boat was towed to Oceanside, where the Border Patrol agents took the migrants into custody for processing, the newspaper said. The detainees' nationality wasn't reported.
"Our congratulations go out to the crew of the USS Boxer, whose decisive actions likely saved the lives of those aboard an ill-equipped vessel attempting to enter the country illegally," said Capt. Thomas Farris, Coast Guard Sector San Diego commander.