It should be the sweetest place to be on a hot summer's day.

The sun is blazing and you've arrived at the beach or the pool, laid out your towel and settled in to catch a few rays or go for a bit of a splash.

But sun bed thievery, beach selfies and imposing inflatable unicorn pool toys can turn a Kiwi paradise into hell. Worse, not listening to the advice of lifeguards can end in tragedy.

Here's how to avoid turning fellow sun-worshippers against you this summer.

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Spot-stealing

If someone has claimed a primo possie on the sand, don't rock up and take that little bit of joy away from them, says Aussie-Kiwi beach lover and Heartbreak Island winner Harry Jowsey.

Harry Jowsey, Heartbreak Island winner, is a beach lover from way back. Photo / Supplied
Harry Jowsey, Heartbreak Island winner, is a beach lover from way back. Photo / Supplied

"One hundred per cent don't take someone's spot at the beach."

Poolside, belongings next to sun loungers mean it's claimed, but if in doubt ask, he says.

"Don't be a twat and just jump right in."

Older male pool users were the most likely to break this rule, the 21-year-old says.

"I feel older people are a bit ruder and they want to assert their dominance in the sun bed realm. They want to prove they're the alpha male in front of their kids."

Sandy towels

Don't flick your sand-riddled towel at the beach.

"Because by god, if you get some sand on me, you'll be in strife," Jowsey says.

Massive inflatables

Best to stick to the pool with these babies - every summer unwitting seafarers are rescued from inflatable rafts and toys after being blown offshore.

Listen to your lifeguard

Most people follow the instructions of lifeguards, Surf Life Saving New Zealand northern region chief executive Matt Williams says.

But a small number don't, and he encouraged those attitudes to change.

Auckland's Mission Bay on a crowded summer's day. File photo / Greg Bowker
Auckland's Mission Bay on a crowded summer's day. File photo / Greg Bowker

"Work with them, unless you want a free ride in [to shore] in an inflatable."

Newbies at a beach or those not confident in the water should especially make sure to always swim between the flags, he says.

Pool toys

Some families could also reveal a selfish streak when it came to communal pool toys at resorts.

"Just be a good human and know that there's some other big kids around and they want to play with the toys too," says Jowsey.

What to wear

Leave the budgie smugglers and thongs at home.

Confidence is great, but when that teeny bit of fabric "runs up your bum", it's not the best for everyone else at the beach, Jowsey says.

"Like thongs, they're absolutely amazing for me. But not for a family with their 8-year-old at the beach. Maybe save those for tanning at home."

Moss said that when it comes time to eat, do everyone else a favour and put a sarong or kaftan over your swimwear - too much sweaty flesh on show over the calamari is off-putting.

"Something for men to note too, put the hairy chest away while we're chewing. Please."

And ladies, don't attempt to wear heels in the sand.

Hat-iquette

Giant hats can be very annoying to other people trying to see or get past you, according to the Telegraph's fashion editor Victoria Moss.

Consider removing it when wafting around the beach or pool.

Social media

In the fraught world of social media, digital native Jowsey also had a few tips to shine, but not too brightly, online.

"Everyone loves to see your vacay, but no one wants to see 300 stories of your vacay. We get it — you're on holiday, you're loving it but no one wants to see it tagged in every place you're going. It just starts to rub it in everyone's face."

It's hard not to post when there's so much Instagram or Facebook worthy natural beauty. Photo / Michele Rodriguez Ferrere
It's hard not to post when there's so much Instagram or Facebook worthy natural beauty. Photo / Michele Rodriguez Ferrere

On a holiday in Los Angeles he had to remind a mate that tagging the city in every post was not necessary.

"[I had to say] ease up cowboy ... it's all good, people will remember where you are."

Pretending to be an influencer increased in summer and was also not cool.

"People will pay to go to a hotel or to dinner and then post thanks for the freebie. They're trying to live a false life.

"Don't pretend to be something you're not, because people can see through it."

Where else to be on a hot summer's day but the beach? These swimmers at Waimarama Beach, Hawke's Bay, agree. Photo / Duncan Brown
Where else to be on a hot summer's day but the beach? These swimmers at Waimarama Beach, Hawke's Bay, agree. Photo / Duncan Brown

Moss says there is nothing crueller than posting a picture of anyone on the beach without their permission.

"Always offer approval and input over the filter used. No one wants a shiny nose."

Slip, slop, slap

You need sun cream slathered on your back, says Moss, but don't wait until your husband has settled himself and is halfway into his book before you ask.

Keep it clean

For Jowsey, the ultimate in beach etiquette is not littering.

Chip packets floating across the sand and beer bottles stuck in it — it all "really s**ts me", he says.

"It absolutely takes away from the gorgeous beaches around here."