Colin McRae said his family were on a fishing boat that capsized near a reef in Exmouth in October.
Colin’s father Stephen described the incident as ‘pretty violent and sudden’.
Colin did not panic, despite the big waves. He did backstroke and floated on his back for more than five minutes.
Mr McRae was not so lucky. He is still off work with leg injuries. He does not know if nerve damage to his leg is permanent.
His wife Roza was uninjured except for a few bruises.
Friends in another boat rescued the family.
Mr and Mrs McRae enrolled Colin in swimming lessons when he was 18 months old.
‘He loved the water,’ Mr McRae said. ‘The lessons definitely saved his life.’
Colin goes to Halls Head Primary School and still loves the water. He is apprehensive about swimming at the beach though.