Fears the summer drowning toll will rise as authorities plea with Kiwis to stay safe

A plea is going out to keep safe around water amid fears the summer holiday drowning toll will grow.

Your playlist will load after this ad

The Coastguard says this season has been one of the busiest so far. Source: 1 NEWS

Four people have died so far, compared with three during all of the last summer holiday period.

“The workload for Coastguard has been really busy this season, it’s up on par with some of the busiest seasons we’ve had so far,” Coastguard Northern Region spokesman Rob McCaw told 1 NEWS.

“We’re seeing a really large number of proper search and rescue jobs,” he said.

Police on Saturday issued their own warning after a yacht broke down in Okuri Bay at the top of the South Island.

There was no way for those on board to communicate, and one person rowed to shore in a dinghy and then walked five hours before they found help.

“Two forms of communications are a must – cell phone, VHF radio, EPIRBs (emergency beacon) are also useful”, Sgt Richard Kennedy from Wellington’s Police Maritime Unit told 1 News.

Sgt Kennedy said it’s also been a busy time in his part of the country.

“We’ve had divers go missing, we’ve had some swimmers get into difficulty just yesterday actually – three went out snorkelling on the south coast of Wellington and got into difficulty.”

“Luckily they made it back to shore by themselves, but it could have been a tragedy,” he told 1 NEWS.

“Unfortunately we’ve had a few incidents where people have chosen to go out when they probably should have stayed and waited for a better day.”

At Taylors Mistake near Christchurch today, club captain Tisha Bradley told 1 NEWS some people are still not swimming between the flags, which she called “really disappointing”.

“People just make a bee-line straight from where they park up for the day on the beach,” she said.

She’s among those pleading with water users be sensible, and stay safe.