A New York lobsterman was rescued from the ocean early Wednesday morning after spending 12 hours adrift at sea, having used only his rubber fishing boots as a flotation device.

Jonathan Aldridge was working the nightshift off the coast of Montauk on the 44-foot commercial lobster vessel Anna Mary when the incident occurred. Aldridge was moving a cooler, he said, when the handle snapped and caused him to lose his balance and fall off the back of the boat, NBC reports. Waves four- and five-feet high began to sweep Aldridge further and further away from the boat, eventually placing him at a point 40 miles away.

He drifted there for over 12 hours with no personal floatation device (PFD) to aid him in his fight to stay alive. However, with some quick thinking, Aldridge removed his green rubber boots and submerged them upside down in the water. The pocket of air inside the boots made them buoyant enough to work as makeshift floatation devices.

All the 45-year-old lobsterman could do was wait for help. He says he refused to succumb to the brutal forces of the ocean, not to mention the imposing wildlife that eventually began to circle around him.

"I was like, 'There is no way I'm dying this way,'" said Aldridge. "'This is how I gotta go? No way.'"

Under the cover of darkness, Aldridge bobbed until morning, when his crew noticed his absence and contacted the Coast Guard.

"When I knew that they saw me it was like, it was the best feeling in the world," he said. "I was craving a cheeseburger for some reason, I don't know why."

Aldridge was pulled from the water Wednesday afternoon in a severely weakened state. He was dehydrated, hypothermic, sunburnt, and suffered underarm rashes where the life-saving boots had been.

He left the hospital Thursday afternoon to a family elated at his survival.

"We just fell apart, the whole house," said Aldridge's father, John Sr. "There was 40 or 50 people here, it was just amazing."