The first drowning of the holiday season has prompted a reminder of the risks around water.

A 43-year-old man drowned at Whiritoa beach on the Coromandel Peninsula yesterday.

He was swimming just 600m from the patrolled area.

Surf Life Saving spokesman Chris Emmett says it reinforces the importance of people swimming between the flags.

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He says it's important to watch out for yourself and others, be aware of dangers and know your limits around water.