I went for a swim at about 8.30am at the Pier in Kenmare on Monday last, the bank holiday. I foolishly ignored the signs and got into the water at the end of the pier, down the steps. Fortunately, a friend had come with me. She got into the water briefly but sensed that the current was very strong and got out straight away. I had swum past the end of the pier but when I tried to swim back, I realised that I couldn’t and that the current was pulling me out to sea.
My friend saw my difficulty and shouted for help. A man who was on the pier got the lifebuoy ring and tried to throw it to me but I had gone out too far.( I think the rope on the ring was damaged).
Roy Johnson was just returning to the pier in his dinghy (he had been leaving someone to their boat) when he heard the call. I can’t describe my relief on seeing him come round the corner of the pier. He spoke to me calmly and instructed me how to hold on to the side of the dinghy. He brought me around the pier to the slipway where he got out of the water and helped me ashore.
There is no doubt that Roy saved my life. He made light of it at the time and again when my wife and I called to his house on Tuesday morning to thank him again. I don’t want to embarrass him and I hope he doesn’t mind my wanting to thank him publicly through your Newsletter but there is no doubt that I would not be here today if it were not for him.
I also want to urge people to read the warning signs and take them seriously. No matter how strong a swimmer you are, you will not fight that current.
Kind regards, Tom O Reilly.