The first drowning of the season was completely preventable, says a Coromandel lifeguard.
A 43-year-old man drowned at Whiritoa beach on the Coromandel Peninsula yesterday.
He was swimming just 60m from a patrolled, flagged area, when he got into difficulty and drowned.
"The saddest thing about his death is that it was preventable," Regional lifeguard supervisor Matt Williams said.
"The flags were just 60 metres away and we'd put lifeguards on earlier in the season than we have in the past. It was a terribly dangerous day."
Williams said if the man, who was the only swimmer in the water at the time, had done a bit of pre-planning, or swam between the flags, he might still be alive.
Something as simple as visiting findabeach.co.nz to find out the dangers of Whiritoa beach could have prevented his death, Williams said.
"That's the most frustrating thing when we go to the beach we don't plan and that's ultimately our demise."
Surf Life Saving spokesman Chris Emmett said the man's death reinforced the importance of people swimming between the flags.
He says it's important to watch out for yourself and others, be aware of dangers and know your limits around water.