Great work on lake but fishing, hunting and exploring fantastic

Lake Dunstan education and enforcement officer Shayne Hitchcock sets out on Lake Dunstan for another patrol after Christmas. Photo by Pam Jones.
Lake Dunstan education and enforcement officer Shayne Hitchcock sets out on Lake Dunstan for another patrol after Christmas. Photo by Pam Jones.
Lake Dunstan education and enforcement officer Shayne Hitchcock, of Alexandra, is out and  about on the lake this summer, keeping an eye on business. In a quiet moment, Central Otago reporter Pam Jones asks him about some of his favourite things.

What is so good about being out on the lake?

The diversity of people you meet and the fact that you're dealing with people who are in such a good mood and happy to be out on the lake. Ninety-five percent of those on the lake are visitors and it's nice to meet them and get comments back from them about the area we live in.

Are boaties behaving so far this summer?

The majority - yes, and with the rest a lot of it is ignorance of water safety rules, because people don't make an effort to find out what they are. But all are very receptive to advice and reminders of the rules.

What offences are most common on the lake and what enforcement action has been needed so far this season?

There are no common offences, it's a variety of things. People sometimes let their common sense go out of their heads and do things such as getting too close to other people and boats on the lake, and failing to keep right. I've given out quite a few written warnings but no fines so far this summer.

What are the most important things for people to remember when out on the water?

The keep-right rule, to always travel anti-clockwise and the 50m rule, which means you must not exceed five knots when within 50m of another boat, vessel, raft or swimmer.

When you're not working on the lake, what do you like doing in your spare time?

Enjoying the countryside of Central Otago and our great food and wine. I also love fishing and hunting - hunting in Central Otago and hunting and fishing trips to Fiordland and the Otago-Southland coastline.

My favourite spots are Martins Bay and Dusky Sound. They are just magical places. They take a lot of effort to get to and not many people get there, but the ones that do really appreciate it. I love taking people there and showing them those areas.

What is the best way to cook the bounty you bring back?

The best way to eat fish is fresh - on the boat. When it comes to meat there are so many different cuts of meat and so many ways to enjoy them. It's great to try different ways of cooking.

Are people respectful enough of our great outdoors?

Over the decades I've noticed a minor few people giving the wrong impression for the bulk of hunters. But 99% of people that love hunting do it right. Most people who are on the water are respectful too. Most people are respectful of our pristine landscapes and the waterways.

What is the recipe for the perfect holiday?

Good wine, good company and trying something new.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

More work on the lake, developing my recently bought lifestyle block on the outskirts of Alexandra and exploring new areas.

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