An 11-year-old boy has been rescued from a strong rip by a surfer at a Coromandel beach today.
Mark from Hotties, a cafe and restaurant at Hot Water Beach, told the Herald a group of children were playing in the hot pools when one boy was taken by the rip.
He said the boy was lucky a group of surfers were nearby and came to his aid.
"If the surfer hadn't been there that would've been the end of him," the local, who's lived at the beach for 23 years, said.
A bystander rang 111 and the boy, who appeared to be in "shock", was treated by paramedics.
"We've got serious rips here. People just kind of bound into the water, it looks great, it's nice and calm and then boom - the rip takes you out," Mark said.
"It's not a question of if it's going to happen, its a question of when it's going to happen," he said of a future drowning incidents.
He said the volunteer surf lifeguards ended their patrols just after the Easter weekend.
"The guards aren't here, because they're not funded. You can imagine if a tourist comes ... All they need to do is keep a guard on, the weekends at least.
"The guards are frustrated, because there's nothing they can do. They have the same problem over at Cathedral Cove. We have hundreds of thousands of people come here every year, and its just nuts.
"Someone's going to drown soon, it'll probably happen in the next couple of months."
He said a funding needed to be found to keep lifeguards on duty year-round, and help improve tourist facilities at the seaside town.