Men are twice as likely to drown as woman.

The experts say it is because men push the limits, overestimate their own abilities and underestimate the conditions.

There were 300 people rescued on Northland beaches in the five years ended December 31, 2016.

Of those, 210 - 70 per cent - were Caucasian men aged 16-25.

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Ten of 15 people who drowned in Northland last year were men. Twice as many men as women.

We are a nation surrounded by water and here in Northland we have arguably the best access in New Zealand to the bounty and recreational joys that the coast brings.

So arguably we are more at risk. And it's not just "we".

Visitors to Northland are at risk too, particularly those chasing seafood delicacies like crab. They have little understanding of the ocean's idiosyncrasies, and seemingly little swimming ability.

Matt Claridge is the Water Safety New Zealand chief executive. He says the data released this past week is hugely disappointing, and that the situation could get much worse - school pools are closing and swimming lessons are tougher to access.

It is said drowning is a "peaceful way to go". Having once thought I was going to drown, the emotions I experienced were terror and panic - not at all peaceful.

Anyone lucky enough to be rescued by a SLNZ lifeguard should be made to complete a water safety education course.

We are also being proactive. The Northland Swim For Life and Top Energy WaterSafe programmes are a partnership between Sport Northland and regional funders Water Safety New Zealand (Northland wide), Top Energy Ltd (Far and Mid North) and the Northland District Health Board (Northland wide).

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Somehow we need to find more funding to give organisations like this the opportunity to teach as many kids as possible how to swim.

We offer education in defensive driving so our kids can use the roads safely. We can do more to make them safe in the water.