Organisations across Whanganui are urging people to stay safe on the water this season, as locals begin to hit both the beach and the river heading into the height of the summer months.
Sixty-four people have lost their lives in the water, according to Water Safety NZ statistics.
Six of those were in the Manawatu/Whanganui region.
The majority of drownings are within the 15-24 age bracket and are related to recreational swimming while 87 per cent of victims are male.
Whanganui District Council community wellbeing manager, Lauren Tamehana, said enjoying swimming and water activities was very much a part of Whanganui life but safety had to be a priority.
"For generations, summer has meant heading to our favourite swim spots to cool down and have fun," Tamehana said.
"But it's important to understand the risks and use this knowledge well when deciding when and where to swim."
One popular swim spot, the Whanganui City Bridge, has seen multitudes of locals thrust themselves off the side in recent years.
Tamehana said jumping off the bridge wasn't banned, but wasn't encouraged.
"We don't actively encourage jumping off the City Bridge into the river. However, if you are going to do this please take care. Check the water for obstacles before you jump. This includes logs and debris as well as rowers and other watercraft who use the river frequently during summer. Also take care as you come up onto the bridge as there is a lot of traffic."
Tamehana also warned locals about the unpredictability of the river and the caution required when swimming.
"The water level of the Whanganui River changes very dramatically. Hidden logs and other debris drift into the area and can make swimming hazardous - and the wharves themselves should be avoided."
According to the Water Safety NZ figures, more people drown each year in rivers than at beaches.
Wanganui Surf Lifeguard Service club captain Jamie Newell said the beaches had been relatively quiet so far and he expected it to get busier as the weather heats up.
"It's not really silly season. Generally, people are pretty good pre-Christmas," he said.
"Hopefully going forward, we get some better weather. That's probably the biggest hinderance."
Newell expected late January and early February to be the busiest times at the beach.
He said the public had been good abiding by safety precautions.
"Swim between the flags. That's the massive one. We put the hazard flags up for a reason."
Whanganui has two patrolled beaches – Castlecliff and Kai Iwi (Mowhanau) beaches. Both beaches are patrolled by Whanganui Surf Lifesaving Lifeguards from 12pm to 6pm each day over summer.
Coastguard New Zealand is also encouraging water safety this summer, urging boaties to don their lifejackets while navigating the water.
According to figures from Maritime New Zealand, around 45 per cent of New Zealand's adult population are expected to be using some form of watercraft this summer, and Coastguard is urging they do so safely.
A Coastguard team will be travelling from Northland to Southland on their "Old4New" campaign, encouraging boaties to swap their old and worn lifejackets for brand new ones with a helpful discount.
"We keep seeing lifejackets that are 40 to 50 years old, if not older," Coastguard Community Ambassador Sue Tucker said.
"Some lifejackets that were considered safe decades ago are now dangerous. For example, if one of the old kapok-filled lifejackets gets punctured, it can get waterlogged and becomes no better than a wet pillow around your neck."
The programme will be in Whanganui at the Coastguard Office on 7 Wharf St on January 9 from 9am to 12pm.