A man and his daughter have been rescued after spending several hours clinging to their overturned catamaran in Lake Ontario near Hamilton Tuesday night.

The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre at CFB Trenton was contacted at 8 p.m. after the pair hadn't returned to Burlington on schedule.

A C-130 Hercules airplane from Trenton and two Canadian Coast Guard vessels were called in, and one Coast Guard boat spotted the pair clinging to their overturned 18-foot boat. They'd been there for about five hours, said Robert Bradbury, a marine search and rescue coordinator.

The two, who Bradbury says were "relatively safe," were found about three kilometres off Hamilton Beach and eight kilometres from where they had set out. "These boats do capsize, and sometimes it's difficult to get them back up," he said.

The duo were pulled aboard the Coast Guard boat and transferred to Halton police, who brought them back ashore. The water temperature at the time was around 21 C, Bradbury says — so warm water coupled with life jackets helped ensured no one was hurt.

"Their life jackets really were the key here."

With files from The Canadian Press