I do not remember when I first sailed out of Arklow, but I do remember when I almost drowned in the dock at the age of three. I was brought up in a fishing community, and in our street of fourteen houses, every one of them had at least one person in the family earning a living from the sea. I first shipped out of Arklow as a boy aged thirteen on local fishing boats. Later on I joined the Merchant Navy, and over the years, I worked my way up from ordinary seaman to master. I served on eighty different boats and ships and was master of thirty-seven of them. These included fi shing vessels, coasters, tramps, cattle boats, passenger ships, heavy-lift vessels, nuclear fuel carriers, tankers, VLCCs, OBOs, container ships, dredgers, survey ships, yachts, and patrol boats. This is my story.