A new campaign educating people about what to do if they are dragged in a rip after 51 New Zealanders were killed in them in the past decade.

The video campaign, launched by TSB and Surf Life Saving New Zealand, starts today on social media and includes stories from four people sharing their own terrifying experiences about being caught in rip currents.

David Toomey, who stars in one of the videos, said he felt powerless when he was caught in a rip while swimming at Palm Beach on Waiheke Island in December.

"I started to panic and thrash about in the water, I could feel my breath getting shallow and I was getting nowhere. I managed to get to some rocks and recover before walking as far as possible around the rip and swimming back to shore."


The campaign also reminds people to remember the three Rs if they are caught in one. These are Relax and float, Raise your hand and Ride the rip - something Toomey wishes he had known earlier.

TSB chief executive Donna Cooper said they wanted every Kiwi to learn the slogan so they could stay safe swimming at the beach.

Surf Life Saving New Zealand chief executive Paul Dalton said the organisation was determined to do what ever it could to prevent unnecessary deaths.

"Nobody is stronger than a rip. If you Relax and float, Raise your hand and Ride the rip you'll have the best chance of getting to safety."