Father's tragic drowning a 'terrible tragedy'

Water swim kids
Kids need to be watched at all times in the water. Photo credit: File

A water safety advocate is urging people to assess the risks at the beach before heading in for a swim.

It comes after a 54-year-old man drowned trying to save his daughter at Cable Bay in Northland.

Davin Bray from Drowing Prevention Auckland says it's a tragic outcome.

"It's a terrible tragedy and I understand why someone would do it. Our natural instincts is to protect our loved ones, and save them. You've just got to do some research, know where you are going and know what the dangers are at each particular beach you're going to."

Ninety-three people have drowned over the past three decades while trying to rescue others - 51 of them at beaches.

Mr Bray says having some type of floatation device is vital whenever you head to the beach.

"It doesn't have to be a rescue tube or a surfboard - it could be a small boogie board, an empty Coke bottle or a chilly bin, or even a bucket that you turn upside down. Anything that can hold air will in theory give you some sort of floatation."

Having a stronger skill set in the water will also help.

"Understand where you're at," says Mr Bray, "and if you've got young children in the water… make sure that you pay attention, watch them and keep an eye on them the whole time."

He says no family should have to go through a tragedy while trying to save a loved one.