With over 125 kilometres of coastline, the Bay of Plenty has a stunning selection of beaches. Whether you're into surfing, fishing, jet skiing, or just want a refreshing dip in the sea - there are plenty of water-based activities on offer. 

It’s important to know a few things so you can enjoy each activity safely. Here are our top tips for whenever you are near or in the water.

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Swim between the flags

Waves, wind and tides can all affect conditions at the beach. We always recommend swimming on patrolled beaches between the flags, as this area is constantly monitored and will be the safest place to swim. 

Our main surf beaches are usually patrolled by surf lifesavers between October and the end of March. You can find a list of patrolled beaches and patrol hours on the Safeswim website.

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How to recognise rips

A rip is a strong current of water running out to sea. It’s important to learn how to recognise a rip current, and the actions you'll need to take if you get unexpectedly caught in a rip.

You can find more information about rips here

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Stay safe in the sun

We all enjoy the summer sun, but nobody enjoys sunburn. There are four things you should never forget when you plan a trip to the beach:

  • Broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen that is at least SPF 30

  • A shirt or clothing that offers good protection from the sun

  • A hat, or something similar, to cover your head (this helps to prevent heatstroke too)

  • Sunglasses

Check out the SunSmart website, which explains the most important times of the day to protect your skin and eyes. 

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Jellyfish larvae and the Mount Mauler

Mount Mauler is the local name for tiny midges found on beaches near Mount Maunganui at certain times of the year. (They also exist on other coastlines around New Zealand.) They usually live above the high-tide mark and can leave itchy red spots on unlucky beachgoers, which can last for several days. To avoid being bitten, we advise that you relax on damp sand, rather than dry sand. You can also spray yourself and your towels with insect repellent. 

Swimmers can also check for any jellyfish warnings on Safeswim, which provides all the latest information on water quality and swimming conditions at New Zealand beaches.



To check the quality of the water in our rivers, ocean, or nearby lakes, please see the Bay of Plenty Regional Council website here.