02/16/2012 12:19 EST | Updated 04/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Rescued Canadians brothers and boy meet Coast Guard crew who helped save them

HONOLULU, Hawaii - The Canadian brothers and 9-year-old boy rescued from the ocean off Hawaii when their sailboat sank during a voyage from Mexico have met with Coast Guardsmen who helped save them.

Joint Rescue Co-ordination Center Honolulu staff told Brad James, his son, and James’ brother Mitchell how they were able to divert the cargo ship Horizon Reliance to pick the three up.

The Coast Guard said in a news release Wednesday the family’s use of lifejackets was a major factor in their survival.

The three hit a series of storms while sailing from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to Hilo, Hawaii.

High winds snapped their mast and choppy water overheated their engine about 450 kilometres from their destination.

Brad James used a satellite phone to call for help as waves rolled over the sailboat. The coast guard then contacted the Horizon Reliance, which was about 240 kilometres away, to come to the rescue of the stranded Canadians.