UNSUPERVISED water-based activities are the leading cause of death by drowning in the country.
Reports presented by police water safety officer Bronwyn Soko shows that many cases of drowning were the result of lack of supervision. "We've lost 29 people from January to this month alone, 11 in the floods," she said.
Mrs Soko told stakeholders at a meeting last week that the statistics were not decreasing and urged the council to co-ordinate plans to rally against the issue.
Of the 478 lives lost since 2002, 79 per cent were males.
Mrs Soko said this was mainly because of the "macho" perception of males during floods.
"Young males are likely to take the most risks," she said.
Mrs Soko said 5.2 per cent of total deaths during the 10-year period occurred in rivers and seas which were defined as high-risk areas.
Police spokeswoman Ana Naisoro said there was only so much the police could do.
"We warn and advise all the time about water safety but it's sad that many people do not heed our warnings," she said.