I lost count of how many we pulled out of the water that day.

The morning started early around 3am ish, still pouring rain.

Now knowing down town, Lismore was in serious trouble.

My partners dad was talking to her saying water is in house and rising.

As daylight came I had made the decision to hook boat up and was in line to fuel up. Knowing that he and my daughter were in South Lismore.

Boat was in water around 6:30-7.

I headed straight down Ballina Rd first time ever in a boat.


Reaching the Bridge and seeing all buildings with water up to roof lines was mind blowing.

Thinking to myself which way to cross river. Decision was made to go around the old butter churn and straight through Norco’s yard.

After that I headed up Casino St to my partners dads house, yelling out to him and his neighbour. I heard nothing so proceeded to Centre St to grab my daughter, after getting stuck on a submerged car.

Daughter on board with her two neighbours. 5 people in boat I headed back the same way.

The flow of the river was fast, I know me and my boats capabilities I didn’t hesitate. Dropping two off at Whyrallah Rd roundabout.

Drop my daughter off know they were all safe I proceeded to go back over river, but the water had risen too high and I felt it way to dangerous to cross again.


I headed back and going to calls and yelling of people in houses and units Several trips I made this horrendous day.

Pulling people from their roofs, even ripping tin off roofs to pull them out from the roof cavity. People dogs cats chickens, yep got them all.


I lost count of how many we pulled out of the water that day 😪.


So many locals like me put their boats and lives on the line to help others.

Yes my boat suffered damage but I didn’t care as lives were saved.


I did all of this with a condition know as Frozen Shoulder in my left arm.

I guess the adrenaline was very high that day.

Just a short story of my events that day.

Yes I will do it all again if it come to happen again, as would most if the boat owners I talked to.

Stay safe, everyone.



Darren Slattery

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