Surf Life Saving warns swimmers over 'perfect storm' of conditions

Warm waters and strong outgoing tides are creating the perfect storm for more potential drownings.

Surf Life Saving is warning swimmers not to be fooled by blue skies and deceptively small waves.

Lifeguards have put out an urgent call for swimmers to be more vigilant than usual as a combination of elements conspire to make our beaches dangerous.

"The waters really warm, beautiful sunny days and people are going out in these conditions and they're underestimating the power of the rips and the undercurrents," says national lifesaving manager Allan Mundy.

It's not just that we're flocking to the beaches in unusually hot weather - the tides are also playing havoc.

"We've got high tide in the morning which means the tide will be going out for the rest of the day," Mundy says. "When the tide is going out, the rips are stronger."

Already this week a woman died at Baylys Beach in Northland while trying to save her child and the body of a swimmer was found at Somme Parade in Whanganui. A teenager has been reported missing after being caught in a rip at Waihi Beach in the Bay of Plenty and on Friday a young child was swept into the sea and died at Napier's Marine Parade.

Mundy says people need to be extra-cautious about rips. Small waves don't mean there's no danger.

And if you do get caught out remember the three 'Rs':

  • Relax in the water and float on your back and preserve your energy
  • Raise your hand so lifeguards and people on the shore can see you
  • Ride the rip out. The currents will tend to bring you back to shore

And there's no shame in staying onshore if you don't feel confident.