BARRIE, ONT. -- It was a terrifying and dramatic few moments when a boat caught on fire in Kempenfelt Bay near the Tiffin Boat Launch in Barrie on Canada Day.

Hundreds of people stood by watching in horror as the flames grew and thick, black smoke filled the air, many shouting to the occupants to jump overboard.

A family of five, including three young children, were onboard the vessel at the time.

The parents carefully tossed their kids, ages two, nine and 10, into the water, desperate to get them away from the intense blaze.

"We heard a loud explosion behind us, turned around, and saw the boat that had just left the dock was fully engulfed in flames," described Jesse Dupuis.

Dupuis, Logan Daly and Samantha Jackson all jumped in their boat to help.

"We couldn't get our motor started, so Logan was trying and trying to get the motor restarted, pushing us away from the flaming wreck," said Dupuis.

The jet skis pulled the rescue boat with everyone on board to safety while Barrie firefighters had another boat owner shuttle them back and forth to remove the burned wreckage from the water.

Investigators believe the fire may have started in the engine, but that has yet to be confirmed.

Fortunately, no one was injured.