Lifeguards are now officially on patrol in the Bay of Plenty.
And it is just as well.
As of July this year, 10 people drowned in Bay of Plenty waters, the second-highest number in New Zealand. Another 16 people were hospitalised.
As a young girl, I learned to swim at the school pool like the rest of my classmates. The stinging sensation of chlorine in the eyes is not something I'm likely to forget. The same could be said for the swimming skills I learned.
All these years later, I'm proud to consider myself a confident swimmer, thanks to those lessons. But any swimming prowess I've earned doesn't make me bulletproof. Complacency in the water can easily prove fatal.
Of those 10 drownings, five people died in home pools and one in a public pool. Another died at a beach, another at a river, and the remaining two were coded as domestic drownings.
Lifeguards can't be everywhere.
Living next to lakes, streams and seaside beaches is one of the beauties of living in the Bay of Plenty. But with hot, sunny weather due it can be easy to let swimming confidence turn into complacency.
A few summers ago at Pāpāmoa beach, my decent swimming ability didn't count for much when I was dragged into large, breaking waves. Despite telling myself to stay calm – I've covered enough tragedy to know how crucial this part is - my body went into panic mode.
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Coughing, spluttering and exhausted, I was eventually pulled back to safety by the Mr. I'd become my own worst enemy in the water. Despite my knowledge and ability, panic ruled.
The experience showed me that being alert, aware and cautious of the dangers in and around waterways can too easily be forgotten amid the enthusiasm of that first summer swim.
Our lifeguards do a fantastic job but let's try to give them a break this summer.
Take those extra seconds to check for a rip, look for red and yellow flags, or whether there's a submerged rock or log at your favourite bombing spot.
Life is too fragile not to.