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Dunedin man Pete Dryden (50) started in the new full-time deputy harbourmaster role this week.
He will assist Otago harbourmaster Steve Rushbrook in promoting water safety and enforcing harbour bylaws.
Mr Dryden comes into the role with decades of experience on the water.
The Dunedin-born man's last job was with Maritime New Zealand for 14 years during which he enforced regulatory compliance.
This involved monitoring vessels in Otago and the Chatham Islands to make sure they were following safety procedures.
"I'm quite lucky that my last job gave me a really good skill set transferable to what I'm doing now."
Prior to that he had 15 years in the commercial vessel industry, which included commercial diving.
He was "attracted by the water" from a young age, he said.
"I was always into recreational diving before I did it commercially."
In his new role he would assist Mr Rushbrook in "delivering safety messages and making sure people on the water are safe".
The two shared a mindset of education before enforcement.
"I liken it to a toolbox where education is the first tool you pull out."
Mr Rushbrook said that the extra role was required as
the job was growing and the Otago Regional Council was taking a "much more active role in the community".
"We've got a huge area to take care of, and if we're going to do it right, it's more than a one-person job."
His priorities since he started 19 months ago were to update the harbour bylaws, make Otago compliant with the New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code, get a vessel for the role and appoint a deputy, he said.
"I'm pleased now to have checked all of these off."