Ten people have drowned in the Bay of Plenty in the past year.

Water Safety NZ (WSNZ) figures released today show there were 66 preventable drowning deaths throughout New Zealand, the second lowest it has been since records began and are down from 91 in 2017.

But the 65 years and over age group had the highest number of preventable drowning
fatalities over the last three years, totalling 41 deaths in that time.

Preventable drowning deaths continued to be a largely male problem with men making up
72 per cent of all preventable fatalities.

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However, the male drowning toll for 2018 is the lowest on record while the female toll is up 20 per cent on the five-year average, but it was still predominantly a male problem.

WSNZ chief executive Jonty Mills said in 2018 adults continued to overestimate their abilities and underestimate the risks when it came to water, with over three-quarter of the drownings being over 35 years.

There is also a spike in the number of preventable drowning deaths where drugs and alcohol were involved, making up 31 per cent of the 2018 deaths.

In the Bay of Plenty, a total of 10 people drowned in 2018.