One boy was rescued on Thursday but emergency services carried out a two-day search around Clacton Pier for the second until his body was found shortly before 8am on Saturday.
The family of 15-year-old Ben Quartermaine from Clacton-on-Sea said he died in what they have described as a terrible accident.
“He was a happy, loving and independent boy who would go out of his way to make others laugh and smile,” they said in a statement issued through Essex Police.
“Ben had a huge love for motorbikes and was often at bike events with family and friends.
“He was looking forward to his 16th birthday when he could do his CBT (compulsory basic training) and get out on his own moped, which we were in the process of doing up for him as a present.
“He was loved by everyone that had the pleasure to know him and will be missed by all.
“We ask that at this very difficult time that we are left alone to grieve and come to terms with our loss.”
Police were called amid concerns for the welfare of the two teenagers in the water on Thursday - with officers arriving at the scene just after 6.35pm.
Two pier workers helped keep one of the boys above the surface until an RNLI lifeboat crew could reach him.
Ben’s family have since said the RNLI “went above and beyond” in the search for the teenager, and have asked that anyone wishing to send flowers donate to the RNLI instead.
Essex Police said the cause of Ben’s death is still being investigated but that it is not being treated as suspicious.