Eleven passengers and crew were rescued when a rented yacht sank off Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Residence.
The vessel, reported to be worth about Dh5.5 million, rapidly took on water due to an apparent leak on board during the daytime trip.
Three crew members - an Egyptian and two Asian men - and eight tourists - Russian, British and French nationals - were picked up by a nearby police boat.
Officers from the marine unit managed to get to the scene before it sank, as dozens of beach-goers looked on.
The accident happened at 12.45pm on Thursday. An eyewitness sent footage of the rescue to a Russian newspaper.
The vessel was in shallow water and only about 200 metres away from the beach.
A rescue official confirmed no one was injured.
Preliminary reports attributed the accident to a water leakage but the cause is not known.
The rental company retrieved the sunken vessel itself after the rescue.
On Saturday, efforts to recover the yacht continued with rescuers securing an inflatable boom to the vessel as they worked out how to raise it from the seabed.