Eight year-old Harry Hausser was out on DeRuyter lake last Thursday with his cousin Matthew Williams when they noticed a fishing boat might be having trouble.
"We thought somebody was in the boat earlier and we kind of got a little freaked out," said Harry.
The two cousins drove towards the overturned boat to see if everyone was safe.
"And then we saw hands right by the motor," said Harry.
63 year-old Kevin McAvoy of Cortland had fallen out of the boat when a loose seat moved as he cast his fishing line. The boat flipped when McAvoy tried to climb back in. He had a life jacket but McAvoy was debating swimming 100- 200 yards to shore when the boys pulled up.
"The kids reacted really well and went straight on over and got the pontoon boat so the swimming option didn't have to happen," said McAvoy.
The cousin's boat was too small so they went back to shore for help. Matthew's father and grandfather brought a pontoon boat out and Harry's 11 year-old sister Helen helped McAvoy climb aboard.
"I was worried because I could see all the things that were coming out of the boat and just sinking down," said Helen.
The family then went back out to tow McAvoy's boat to the dock. The next day they used snorkels to recover McAvoy's tackle box. Harry and Helen's mother thanked the kids for being sharp eyed.
"I'm incredibly proud that they kept very calm and kept their wits about them," said Shelley Hausser.
Harry and Helen say they will always remember when the family vacation turned into a rescue.
"When my teacher asks me what I did this summer, I'll say - we saved a guy!" said Helen.
Kevin McAvoy took all the kids out for ice cream and sent them a card calling them his heroes.