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Brave teen is hailed a hero for rescuing pal from stormy seas

A schoolboy who saved his best friend in stormy seas has told of how he nearly gave up due to exhaustion.

Brendan Bolger (16), from Stillorgan, South Dublin, was awarded for his heroic endeavours this week for saving the life of fellow sailor John Brady.

And his actions have inspired him to become one of the country's youngest lifeguards.

The transition year student said: "I'm a strong swimmer so it didn't make me afraid of going back in the water or anything like that. I started taking lifeguard classes in September."

Brendan, John and friend Daniel Philips set sail from Dun Laoghaire on Friday, August 13 in good weather.


The following day, they anchored off the beach in Courtown, Co Wexford, so Daniel and Brendan could camp while John (20) stayed on the yacht with a skipper. But when the weather took a turn for the worse, John tried to head back to the shore.

"The sea was very rough so when we tried to get back to the yacht in a zodiac, we kept on capsizing," Brendan recalled. "Then we saw John jumping off the boat with an inflated lifejacket that burst -- he was heading towards the beach where we were.

"The sea was so choppy and cold that we weren't sure how he was going to make it.

"He's not a very strong swimmer so when I saw him rolling over his back, I jumped in with a buoy to get him."

"It felt like I was swimming forever, it took so much energy because it was so cold and rough.


"John was unconscious when I got to him, I started bringing him back but it was getting really tiring, I was afraid I wouldn't make it back on my own, let alone with him.

"When we were halfway back, a man swam out to help me. We eventually got back and the ambulance took over from there."

The young sailing assistant instructor received a Seiko 'Just In Time' rescue award at the Irish Water Safety's National Awards Ceremony this week, for his brave actions.

Business student John told the Herald that Brendan deserved "thousands" of these awards for what he did.