During his 14-plus years of volunteering and working for Marine Rescue NSW Monaro Zone, duty operations manager Glenn Sullivan has never experienced an outcome like he did on a weekend in mid-June this year.
The result of the search operation hit him like an emotional sledgehammer and it was a jolt he would like to experience more often.
Mr Sullivan said he had been involved in countless search operations over the years, but never one where the missing person was found alive on the second day of a search - until a miracle on the South Coast.
On a fresh Saturday winter afternoon, Inspector Sullivan said he took a call for assistance from Marine Area Command after a spearfisherman failed to surface near Lennards Island just north of Eden.
"It was late afternoon; there were considerations about crew activation, time to get on scene and the amount of daylight available," he said.
"I was informed that helicopters and Water Police were already on scene.
"We were told the missing man had a diving float but it couldn't be seen," he said.
Inspector Sullivan responded by deploying Marine Rescue NSW vessel XRAY 30 with a volunteer crew from Eden on board.
"The master, Mark Cattanach, is a professional charter operator out of Eden Harbour and I was fortunate that the crew that was assembled had exceptional local knowledge and experience.
After assisting Water Police and rescue helicopters for the initial search, XRAY 30 was stood down because of failing light.
"With the suspension I thought the outcome wouldn't be positive, history has sadly shown that over the years," Inspector Sullivan said.
Inspector Sullivan said the Eden unit, along with neighbouring Merimbula, were tasked to resume the search early the next morning with crews on board XRAY 30 and MB 31.
"When it goes into a second day the preparation and mindset is different," he said.
I have never been part of a successful day-two search, the relief and joy that came out was incredible.- Marine Rescue NSW Monaro Zone duty operations manager Glenn Sullivan
"While you're hopeful of a positive outcome, deep down, experience tells you that it may not be the positive one we're all hoping for.
"It is crucial that the crews are fully briefed and prepared for the second day of a search.
"Making sure they have the appropriate first aid gear, oxygen defibrillator, body bags and other personal protective equipment on board the rescue vessel in the event that the person is located," Inspector Sullivan said.
Marine Rescue NSW volunteers from Merimbula and Eden assembled at their respective bases and resumed the search early Sunday morning.
Just over an hour into the resumption of the search for the missing 64-year-old spearfisherman, success.
He was located by members of the multi-agency search on the coast within Beowa National Park.
It was a call Inspector Sullivan had longed for.
"I was initially contacted by the Marine Rescue NSW vessels on scene and then had it confirmed by Marine Area Command where the stand-down order was given so our crews could return to their respective bases.
"I teared up," he said, pausing to collect his emotions.
"I have never been part of a successful day-two search, the relief and joy that came out was incredible.
"I suppose the reason for that emotion is the fact that it is everything we train for.
"I've seen almost 15 years of disappointment in searches and this was the result we always hope will happen.
"This result has also reinforced why we need to remain hopeful because there is an opportunity to get a positive outcome.
"It also demonstrates that the work we do with all partner agencies is being done correctly.
"It was wonderful for this multi-agency operation to be able to return the person safely to their family.
"As a human, I don't think there is any greater feeling than being part of an operation with an outcome like this.
"It also shows to our volunteers that we should never give up hope and what we do is extremely important," Inspector Sullivan said.
Despite spending the night out in the elements, the 64-year-old spearfisherman was uninjured.
He was transported by Water Police to Eden's Snug Cove and assessed by NSW Ambulance paramedics before being reunited with loved ones.
Love your regional news? Then sign up for the Voice of Real Australia, news from across the country delivered free to your inbox