Two fewer people drowned this holiday period than last year, and there were no drownings between the flags.

Figures released from Water Safety New Zealand today show the preventable drowning toll for the official holiday period is eight, with two of them classified as beach drownings.

That compares to a total of 10 drownings last official holiday period of which six were classed as beach drownings.

The holiday period ran from December 23 to January 4.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand national lifesaving manager Allan Mundy acknowledged the weather hasn't been as good which may have kept some people away from the beach and therefore contributed to the lower fatality rate.

"It just means that when the weather does heat up and more people head out for a swim we have to be extra-vigilant."


Around 4500 lifeguards will patrol more than 80 locations this summer.

Mundy said a major part of life guarding is undertaking preventative actions which stop people from getting to the point of needing rescue. He urged people to choose a patrolled beach and swim between the flags,

"A lifeguard's role extends well beyond the flagged area. They will undertake roaming patrols to check on swimmers outside of the patrolled area, encourage them to move into the flagged zone and also educate swimmers of general dangers around the beach," he says.

"It's great to see people listening to our lifeguards, interacting with them and asking for advice out there on the beach."

For more information or to find the nearest patrolled beach visit or