LAKE GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) — After spending hours stranded in a lake after their boat capsized, a father and son thank their life jackets for saving their lives.

Richard Pretorious and his nearly 80-year-old father were fishing at Lake Grapevine Thursday night when the wind and waves overpowered their boat — leaving them in the water overnight.

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Pretorious swam for three hours to get help for his father, John.

First responders who helped save the father and son said one simple decision they made saved both of their lives — their life jackets.

They were tossed around like rag dolls, Richard said. He estimates he swam a couple miles to Twin Coves Marina where he called for help.

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At that point, his dad had spent close to seven hours in the water.

Cut and scraped, but otherwise unhurt, Richard said there was no way he was letting go of his life jacket.

“There was no way i was letting this go that night… No way,” Richard said while hugging his life jacket. “I made it to the bank with this. I made it all the way to the ambulance with this.”

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Richard said he hopes to be back on the water soon, with his life jacket on deck.