Police are pleading with Kiwis to be careful around the water after three people died in water-related incidents over six hours on Tuesday.

Emergency services responded to separate incidents in Auckland, Upper Hutt, and Ōpōtiki - where victims were pulled from the water.

Four people have so far died on or in the water this summer.

It comes as authorities are also warning divers who have recently had Covid-19 to check on their breathing before returning to the water.

In a media release, police said they didn't want a repeat of last year, where 90 people drowned - the worst figures since 2011.

"Over the course of 2022, the National Dive Squad has been called out to assist with several searches for missing divers, swimmers or boaties, and many of those searches involved recovering people to return to their loved ones rather than getting them home safe.

"Alcohol and water don’t mix and can have fatal consequences," they said. "There are many things we can all do to stay safe this summer to drastically reduce the risk."

For divers, police warned that people who have had a recent Covid-19 infection could have ongoing effects on their respiratory system

"Particularly if you received treatment like medical oxygen or were hospitalised. There could be ongoing effects, especially to your respiratory system," police said.

"Please go and see a diving doctor to discuss this and check that you are fit to return [to the water]."

Police's water safety advice

A person swimming in the sea.

For swimmers:

  • If swimming at the beach, swim between flags and watch out for rips in the water
  • Things can change in an instant, so actively supervise children around water.
  • Check for hidden objects in swimming holes, such as logs. Water can change in depth each summer and currents can move objects underwater.
  • Look before leaping and get local knowledge about the risks.
Water (file image.)

For divers:

  • If someone is diving from a boat, it's a legal requirement to display a dive flag - with divers, spear fishers, snorkelers and swimmers sharing the water
  • Get the right equipment and maintain it well. Failure to regularly maintain equipment can have severe consequences
  • Always check the weather and tide conditions in advance of departing the dock
  • It is recommended that free divers and swimmers have a float if more than 200m from shore
  • Plan for things if they go wrong during the dive and on the surface. Safe surfacing procedures, including safety stops, are an essential component in a diver's skill set
  • Check if the medications you take are compatible with diving and get a check-up, especially if there are changes in your health.
Boat file image.

For boating:

  • Always wear a life jacket when boating and jet skiing or using any other craft on the water
  • Everyone on the water needs a plan for how they are going to stay safe in case things go wrong
  • Check gear to make sure it’s safe. It’s vital to prep the craft and ensure maintenance on engines and ancillary equipment has been done
  • Have two forms of waterproof communication on board, such as a phone or marine radio
  • Check the marine weather forecast
  • Know the rules for the area and be familiar with navigational hazards in your area.
  • Know the responsibilities for keeping yourself, your passengers, and other water users safe.

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