Water Safety New Zealand says water users are too complacent around the water, leading to too many preventable deaths.
Figures released on Monday show 10 people drowned in the Christmas/New Year holiday period - the same number as last year. Seven of the ten deaths were in the North Island, and nine of those who died were male.
The general manager for Water Safety says most of the drownings could have been prevented if simple safety tips had been followed.
Matt Claridge says it is not fair to rely on lifeguards or other rescue services.
Forty percent of all drowning deaths occur in summer.