Lifeguards are urging swimmers to talk to them before they make a break for the waves.
As of last week, 84 people had drowned this year - compared to 71 at the same time last year.
Chairman of the Hot Water Beach lifeguard services Gary Hinds said it's not the beach that's a problem - it's the people.
Up to 2000 people an hour can flock to Hot Water Beach in the Coromandel - with over half a million people making the pilgrimage there in summer.
"People just come for the hot pools, once they're done they move on. The beach is not a problem. It's the people we attract to the beach.
"A lot of overseas tourists aren't aware of surf conditions and this is the first thing they do in New Zealand. They spot a glassy patch of water [a rip] and swim straight into it."
Over the last week there had been no gnarly rescues at the beach but that could change quickly if the weather kicked up, Hinds said. Like on December 20 and 21, where the lifeguards orchestrated seven rescues in two days as a 1.5m swell hit the beach.
Dangerous situations pop up quickly, Hinds said. On Christmas day lifeguards rescued three boys who had gone boogie boarding and been slowly edging out of the flag area. A lifeguard came to tell them to come in closer, but by the time he got to the shoreline the boys had been pulled into a rip and needed rescuing.
"The kids didn't notice what had happened but the parents were very thankful," Hinds told the Herald.
The popular tourist beach has a lot of visitors who don't speak English well and it can be a struggle to communicate water safety to them, Hinds said.
Often people stay only for a few hours, so the whole beach needs re-educating every few hours, he said.
It can also be one of the first beaches people visit when they come into the country so they often aren't aware of how dangerous New Zealand beaches can be.
The best advice Hinds had was to talk to the lifeguards. Instead of avoiding lifeguards, they should ask where the safest place to swim was and a guard would be happy to have a chat.
At the peak of summer seven paid lifeguards are dotted around the beach and hold a station for 30 minutes - any longer and they risk "losing vision" where they become used to what they're seeing and lose vigilance.
Around 3000 people were on Whangamata beach at peak time on Friday. Whangamata head lifeguard Stew Gibson said the crew was very busy doing prevention work.
But the biggest cause of injury over the week had been bee stings as thousands of dead bees washed ashore. Gibson estimated the crew had tended to 75 bee stings over the week.
The bees were mainly at the high-tide line, but numbers appeared to have decreased.
Surf Life Saving New Zealand eastern region lifesaving manager Chase Cahalane said they had patrols on eight beaches around the peninsula who do lots of prevention work to stop people getting into trouble.
He said getting a swell and no rain or wind was the perfect storm for incidents to happen as people were more likely to get into the choppy water. This coupled with a waning tide moving from midway to low tide revealed holes, dumpier waves and stronger-than-usual rips.