Surf Life Saving NZ is urging caution for anyone visiting East Coast beaches next week because of waves and rips caused by a weather system in the Pacific.

MetService meteorologist Andy Best said Hawke's Bay could expect swells between two to three metres approximately, as a result of low pressure systems in the Pacific created by an ex-tropical cyclone.

"Even though the cyclone will mostly miss us, the persistent winds will build up and cause swells.

"It's called fetch, an area of ocean or lake surface over which the wind blows in an essentially constant direction, thus generating waves," Best said.

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"These can travel with the cyclone or still remain in place once cyclone moves away."

National lifesaving manager Allan Mundy said the risk for swimmers and beachgoers getting into difficulty would increase.

"We often experience an increase in difficult, challenging rescues during this type of weather pattern."

Mundy said people walking along the shore should watch out for large waves surging up the beach.

"These have the power to knock people over and will travel well past the high tide mark. Young children, the elderly and small dogs are most at risk."

Mundy said anyone who goes swimming should swim between the flags.

He said anyone who does get into difficulty should remember the 3Rs Rip Survival Plan.

RELAX and float to conserve your energy. RAISE your hand to signal for help. RIDE the rip until it stops and you can swim back to shore or help arrives.

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He said raising your hand will attract attention and indicate that you need help.

"With surf lifeguards doing observational patrols in the area, either we will see you, or someone will alert us to your need."

He said many rips will circulate back to shore, so if you feel able, once you get closer to shore you can swim in.

"If not, remain calm and continue to float until help arrives."