South Queensferry lifeboat was sent out after a member of the public called in to report a possible aircraft ditching in the Firth of Forth on Tuesday.
The team reached the object and found it was a giraffe-shaped helium balloon.
A Coastguard spokesman said the call at 9.50am was made in good faith.
He said: “The South Queensferry lifeboat was called out to a possible aircraft ditching in the Firth of Forth which turned out to be a giraffe-shaped helium balloon. The man who called wasn’t trying to mislead us. He saw it and he thought it was an aircraft.”