ROB McCue had never driven an Inflatable Rescue Boat anywhere other than at the beach until March 20, 2021.
That was when the Hastings River rose, swallowed up anything in its path and created a full-scale flood emergency.
Normally the club captain, Mr McCue is now taking on the coordinator role for Port Macquarie Surf Life Saving Club and their rescue efforts.
"It's the first time I've driven an IRB up Hastings River Drive," he said.
More at home between the red and yellow flags, surf life saving crews from around the Hastings have picked up their skills and implemented them in river rescues across the past four days.
Port Macquarie, Wauchope-Bonny Hills and Tacking Point have contributed six IRB's between them to access areas from Kendall out to Rawdon Island and up the Maria River.
"IRB's are adaptable to all situations; we launched them on the oval at Sancrox and then we can go over fences or pick them up and take them across paddocks," Mr McCue said.
"We can get to places that would otherwise be inaccessible. We've been through gaps in treelines."
Lifeguards have also helped out with head lifeguard James Turnham saying they have worked alongside a duty officer based in the emergency operations centre in Port Macquarie.
"So far we've rescued people from cabins and some of them were medical evacuations as well," Mr Turnham said.
"People are getting low on medications; there have been some pregnant women that needed to get to hospital so it's been very interesting to see the wide range of needs.
"It's been an amazing effort from all the surf clubs who have pulled together crews. It's the first for us here in Port Macquarie helping out with flood rescues."
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