Without Lismore's little flotilla of tinnies, kayaks, rubber dinghies and jets skis, hundreds of people would have been left stranded on their roofs during this major flood event.
As the disaster unfolded in the early hours of Monday, it was pretty clear that whatever resources the fantastic men and women of the SES could throw at this cataclysmic event, it would not be enough.
Hundreds of calls meant there was a huge back log of work for the SES to get through and people started desperately posting on Facebook they needed help.
Initially, there was confusion about a call out for people with watercraft to turn up to SES headquarters in Lismore.
So much so the SES had to post on social media and plead with people not to bring their boats or trailers and clog up roads.
"We appreciate our wonderful community is keen to help, but the more traffic on the roads the slower it makes our work," the SES posted.
But the sheer scale of the disaster saw citizen boaties take life and death matters into their own hands.
Andrew Kemsley of Goonellabah owned a boat and decided he couldn't ignore the many pleas for help.
"I didn't really want to go into the water knowing the risks, but I knew people needed help," he said.
"There were lots of hidden dangers and submerged cars and power lines as well as chemicals and gas bottles."
Despite the dangers, he went out with his brother-in-law from 9am on Monday morning.
He knew there were rescue crews looking in South and East Lismore, so he decided to concentrate his efforts on the CBD.
As they were approaching the back of some apartments at the rear of Central Shopping Centre they saw someone getting rescued from a balcony.
They pulled up to the balconies and went inside the apartment complex with phone lights calling out to see if anyone needed help.
Only when they got to the back of the building did they hear people calling out for assistance. It was a surreal moment.
It was a man and a woman in their 50s who were "thankful and happy to see them" and quite surprised to see the water level when they got outside.
The pair also rescued people in Girards Hill with a baby who were quite distressed and required medical assistance. They were taken to St Vincent's Hospital.
Another person to help out was Tom Glaze, who utilised his kayak to ferry people home to collect valuables, shoes, clothes, pets and other important items.
I didn't really want to go into the water knowing the risks- boat rescuer Andrew Kemsley
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