About one person drowned every three days during the summer
in New Zealand.
Thirty-one people drowned in the period from December 1 to
February 28 - two of those were in Otago and two in
Southland, figures released by Water Safety New Zealand show.
Chief executive Matt Claridge said 12 drownings were on
beaches, double last year's total.
Overall, the total was down 10 from the five-year summer
average, he said.
''It's promising we are seeing a downward trend but the
number of drownings is still disproportionate.''
The high number of beach deaths could be related to the
country's good summer, he said.
Males made up 81% of the total summer drownings ''men in
boats, men swimming or men fishing''.
That was also the case in Otago. An 18-year-old youth drowned
after he fell into the Clutha River while kneeboarding in
early January and a 75-year-old man who drowned when his
dinghy capsized in Papanui Inlet in late January.
So far this year, there had been 28 drownings in New Zealand
waters compared with 37 at the corresponding time last year.