Sixteen people died in Northland waters last year in what were preventable drownings with water safety officials saying people often drown because they over estimate their ability and underestimate the risks.
The number of deaths in the region's waterways doubled from eight in 2018 with plenty more risking their lives.
Northland has 3200km of coastline and harbours, with no part of the region more than 40km from the coast. There are 10 harbours in the mix making Northland a high risk area for those trying to keep those safe on the water.
Northland has a relatively low population but during the summer season it swells, and January and December were the most treacherous last year with five people dying in the first month of the year and three in the final month.
Regionally the highest number of drownings for 2019 were in Auckland 17, Northland 16, Waikato 7, Otago 7 and Southland 6.
Northland accounted for 20 per cent of the of the national total of 78 preventable drownings. All but one of those who drowned were men, with most of them aged under 54.
The most common cause of drowning in Northland was swimming 3, followed by non-powered boat incidents 3, underwater diving 2 and landbased fishing.
Beaches and rivers predictably were where nine of the fatalities happened.
On Monday a diver, in his 50s, died when he did not resurface off the coast of Taiharuru just after midday.
Whangārei Heads lifeguards in an IRB, the Bream Bay rescue jet ski and coastguard conducted a search for a missing diver just south of Awaroa Bay, Taiharuru.
Major Northland cannabis bust uncovers more than 4000 plants
Awesome orca hunting display impresses fisherman on rocks
Native American culture colourful display at powwow, North Dakota
The diver was found deceased just after 1pm and the lifeguards took the man to the Coastguard vessel, which transported him back to police waiting on shore at a local marina.
Water Safety New Zealand chief executive Jonty Mills said given Northland's popularity as a summer destination it meant there was a high number of people participating in water-based activities.
"Northland is an incredibly inviting place with its beaches over December and January. It's not all Northlanders drowning but it's people coming from other locations," Mills said.
"Rivers and beaches are seen as our playground and there is a perception it won't hurt us. The water can be incredibly inviting but can be unpredictable and unforgiving if people make bad choices."
Mills said people taking to the water quiet often did not have the skills or competence to undertake water activities and did not have the skills needed to get out of trouble.
Northland's Search and Rescue team Sergeant Craig Burrows said police and volunteers had been called nearly 1000 incidents during the year 2019, a majority of these were water related.
During summer the on call squad members can be managing as many as 10 jobs a day.
"Our involvement in water rescues covers from advice given to full on rescues to unfortunately recovering the deceased. We have some very remote areas within Northland that attract a range of people from locals through to visitors. While the temperature is hot it is great to get wet cool off and have a bit of fun but remember your own personal limits," Burrows said.
"Some people who venture onto/into the water need to know exactly what their limits are and to stay well within those limits. We want everyone going home to family and friends at the end of the day."
Burrows said a number of rescues could be prevented by taking on board some simple safety tips starting with lifejackets.
"These are a must ... you are never to manly not to put one on. If you get into trouble they can keep you afloat until an emergency service locates you."
Having at least two forms of communication, which did not mean two cellphones as if out of coverage an alternative form of communication was required.
Advise someone of trip plan including destination, where you are going to launch from and how long you expect to be.
"Overdue boaties covers a lot of our calls that could be prevented if you let someone know when you depart land and when you get back on land. Remember if you haven't used your equipment in a while it is better to be safe than sorry get it checked before you go on the water."
Burrows said Coastguard were a valuable asset and a membership could offer guidance and assurance while out and about and needed a tow for whatever reason.
Drowning stats for Northland: