Jason Goodrich, 39, of Burlington became trapped on the rocks in the river between Burlington and Winooski. Burlington Fire says he was distraught and rescuers were unsure of his mental state.
First responders from several agencies descended on the river.
Burlington Fire says Goodrich was unable to return to shore on his own because of the strength of the water, so personnel from Colchester Technical Rescue went out to get him.
He was returned to shore and police put him in the back of one of their vehicles while they investigated.
The agencies credit the safe outcome to good cooperation.
An investigation revealed that Goodrich had a blood alcohol content of 0.119%.
Fire officials say Goodrich tossed a backpack into the river, but they didn't know why, what it contained or if it would ever be retrieved.