The man who died on Lake Rotoiti this week had been water skiing without a lifejacket.

Police have confirmed the man in his 60s was visiting the lake on holiday with family.

Inspector Kevin Taylor from Bay of Plenty police said the man was not from the Rotorua area. However police would not release his name.

Mr Taylor said the man had been water skiing without a lifejacket.

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Police divers found and recovered the man's body off Gisborne Point on Tuesday. The divers had been at the lake since Monday after the man was reported missing on Sunday afternoon.

It is the second drowning on Lake Rotoiti this year, and the third on Rotorua lakes.

"In general water is a very unforgiving environment and if things go wrong they can go dramatically wrong very quickly."

Mr Taylor said when things went wrong, as in the recent incident, there was no coming back from it.

"It is tragic."

He said a moment's inattention and decision taken for whatever reason could have catastrophic consequences.

Mr Taylor said people on or in the water needed to wear the appropriate safety gear.

He said three deaths on Rotorua lakes in the first two months "was not a particularly flash start" to the year.

"One death is too many."