Wherever you are in New Zealand you don't have far to go to see a river, lake or the ocean.
Even inland, like in Rotorua, there are multiple lakes at our fingertips and countless beaches an hour or so away.
At this time of year, people visit these beaches and lakes more and more often. But sometimes those who head to the beach to enjoy the weather do not return home.
BETWEEN THE FLAGS: An NZME summer campaign
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• Premium - Between the flags: On the beach with Whanganui's surf life savers
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• Between the Flags: 10 things that could save your life at the beach this summer
In the first three days of the holiday drowning toll season, which runs each year from 4pm on Christmas Eve until 6am on January 3, four people drowned. They died at a lake, a harbour and two beaches.
By the end of the drowning toll season six people had drowned, two more than last year.
Today we reveal the number of preventable drownings in the Bay of Plenty region has more than halved in a year - from 10 preventable drownings of 12 in 2018 to three of five in 2019.
Nationally, 92 people lost their lives, 72 whose drowning deaths were preventable.
But water safety advocates say there is no reason to celebrate. One life lost is one life too many.
Six drowning deaths recorded over the official holiday period
Between the flags: On the beach with Whanganui's surf life savers
There is no reason there should be any preventable drownings when volunteer lifeguards patrol our beaches over summer.
But there are because Surf Lifesaving New Zealand needs help.
Each of the country's 74 clubs must find money each year to pay for gear vital to save lives.
From $80 for surf fins to more than $25,000 for a rescue boat. They can't do it without our help.
This summer NZME is helping Surf Life Saving to help save lives. The charity relies on the goodwill of thousands of volunteers, fundraising, grants and sponsorship to keep our beaches patrolled.
I urge you to donate and help our lifeguards to stay afloat this summer. You never know when they might do the same for you.