New York (CNN) -- Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro's gastronomical gifts were of little help when his 32-foot Boston Whaler got lost in heavy fog in New York Harbor.
"People were scared," Valastro told CNN of the harrowing journey Friday night with his wife, another couple and nine young children. "I didn't know which way to look -- left, right. I couldn't even see in front of me."
Both New York fire and police department units located and safely towed Valastro's boat to Liberty Landing Marina in Jersey City, New Jersey, NYPD Sgt. Carlos Nieves said. The vessel typically docks at Liberty Landing, which sits on the other side of the Hudson River from New York City and not far from the Statue of Liberty.
Police said authorities received an emergency call about 9:30 p.m.: A boat was stranded and its captain disoriented just south of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.
The vessel was lost in thick fog in Ambrose Channel, a busy shipping channel that put it in danger of colliding with large commercial ships, police said. Valastro said they were lost about 20 minutes before he called for help.
The ordeal started about 8:30 p.m. after Valastro and his friends had dinner in Highlands, New Jersey, and were taking the boat back home.
"I can't see the city," said Valastro, who had owned a boat for about six years. "I'm thinking it's dark... We wind up going into this deep, deep fog where you couldn't see 10 feet in front of you. We started to get really scared."
At one point, Valastro said, a bigger vessel about 30 feet away was headed straight for his boat.
"I saw him but I don't think he saw us," he recalled. "We had to get out of the way... I turned quick. It got really, really scary. I said,' You know, it's time to call for help."
The boat moved slowly in the dense fog, he said. The children cried. Some were seasick and vomited overboard.
"My wife was flipping," he said. "I couldn't pick a worse bunch of people to be on the boat stuck in the fog with. All the kids were under 10 years old ... then my wife and my friend's wife and my friend... After we got rescued, we started joking and having some fun. But it was no joke. "
Nieves said police inspected the boat and found no alcohol on board or equipment violations. Valastro showed no signs of impairment, police said.
Valastro said a fire department vessel responded about 10 minutes after his distress call, followed later by a police boat.
"I want to bake them a cake," he said. "I want to do something good for them. They didn't even realize who I was until the end. It was all business. I'm not the kind of guy to say, 'I'm the Cake Boss. The Cake Boss in distress. May Day."
Valastro, who starred on the hit TLC show "Cake Boss," now appears in the competition series "Next Great Baker" on Tuesdays. A fourth-generation baker, he runs Carlo's Bake Shop in Hoboken, New Jersey.
After Friday's odyssey, the Cake Boss tweeted: "Next time we go out at night need to check the forecast #mywifewantstokillme".