10 March 2023
By Lucy Ashton
Oban Harbour Master Vicki McKenzie is certainly making her mark as Argyll and Bute Council’s only female in the role.
Vicki moved to the west coast of Scotland in 2011 to take up the position of Harbour Master at Oban, having previously been the Assistant Harbourmaster in Grangemouth and, when it comes to experience, Vicki has plenty, having worked at sea for more than 15 years skippering a number of vessels.
Since starting her career Vicki has noticed vast changes in the industry and many positive developments at Oban North Pier.
She said: “There is never a quiet moment. We see a lot of activity at the North Pier, from visiting cruise ships to commercial vessels, and the new pontoons keep us very busy too, particularly during the summer months.
“The salt stocks for Argyll and Bute’s roads also come into the North Pier via boat from Ireland, and we have recently started to export timber from Oban to save it being transported via our roads.
“We are also kept busy ensuring all our legislation is up to date, and making sure we comply with the Port Marine Safety Code.
“We are in the process of establishing a Municipal Harbour Authority in Oban so it is a really exciting time. The Council has had some very positive discussions with Transport Scotland, and we are now just waiting on the Scottish Government to approve the draft Harbour Revision Order before it can go out to public consultation.
“I absolutely love my job and wouldn’t change it for the world. It is hard work but it is very interesting and I work in close partnership with a huge network of very knowledgeable people, including three other harbour masters in Argyll and Bute, my colleagues in the Council’s Marine Operations Team, and the many, many contacts I have already made throughout my career from various organisations.
“No two days are ever the same in my role, and I have met some lovely people along the way. I work with such a great team and we all get on really well together. I would definitely recommend it as career.”
Top picture: Always busy Oban Harbour. Picture by Bill Heaney