A group of Sydney scouts lived up to the "be prepared" motto when a four-day trek was hijacked by a rising river this week.
Three of the five-strong group, undertaking their Queen's Scouts Award on the NSW South Coast, were trapped by a rising and fast flowing Yadboro River, in the Budawang National Park, west of Milton.
The Ulladulla State Emergency Service Flood Rescue Team performed a swift water rescue near the Long Gully Campground, taking the three stranded scouts, two boys and a girl, one-by-one across the swollen river.
It was a first for the scouts and also a first for the Ulladulla Flood Rescue Team in using the Arc Angel inflatable boat in a fast flowing river rescue situation.
Ulladulla SES Commander Tracy Provest praised the "composure, safe and smart decision making by the youngsters", who decided to set up camp overnight instead of attempting to cross the river, which had risen after recent heavy thunderstorms and rain in the area.
"Hats off to these youngsters, they were all aged 16-17 and they made the right decision to set up camp."
The trio crammed into a one-person tent for the night.
"I can't praise the kids highly enough for the smart decisions they made," Ms Provest said.
Despite a lack of radio and mobile telephone coverage in the area, the alarm was raised Thursday morning by concerned parents.
"A number of the parents and the scout leader were staying at Long Gully, the car park/camping area for access to The Castle and although concerned they weren't worried about the children, having faith in their abilities," she said.
A 000 call to NSW Police saw the Ulladulla SES unit mobilised.
After assessing the situation the Flood Rescue Team, headed up by Bill Frazer with the assistance of Gary Smith, decided to use the Arc Angel device.
After traversing the river, the pair brought back the scouts' three backpacks first to ensure the inflatable boat plan worked safely.
Then, one-by-one, the three scouts were taken back across the fast flowing river to safety and back to their parents.
"It was a great outcome and a great exercise for us," Ms Provest said.
"We had a rather large thunderstorm Wednesday - it dumped around 130mm at Porters Creek Dam, so we knew the river would be rising.
"They [the scouts] were well out on their trek before the weather came in.
"But in a lead up to this trek they have all done more than 400 hours of bushwalking and camping.
"To achieve their Queen's Scout Award they have to plan and execute this trek all by themselves and they did that and passed with flying colours and their decision to stay on the flooded side of the creek was all part of their training.
"They demonstrated some cool heads.
"It was a great example of people making smart decisions - just in the time our crews were at the river it rose another 40 centimetres and was flowing very quickly."