Thirty-six people drowned in NSW over summer, a 12 per cent drop on last year.
During the peak holiday period, from Christmas Day to January 2, there were six drownings, compared with 17 over the same period a year earlier.
Only one death over summer involved a swimming pool.
Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant released the figures while thanking lifesavers, lifeguards and other rescue groups for their efforts, and encouraging people to remain aware of dangers even though summer is over.
“The NSW Government is committed to working with the community to prevent drowning related deaths especially after the horrific 2016/17 summer which saw 17 people drown between Christmas and January 2,” he said.
“While we have seen a 12 per cent drop in drownings from last year, regrettably 36 lives were lost this summer.
“For us to continue to see a decrease in tragic drowning deaths, we need everyone to take on board our water safety messages endorsed by the experts.”
Of the 36 drowning deaths, 80 per cent of victims were male, with the highest risk age group 25-34.
Coastal areas claimed 21 lives, this summer, with 14 deaths in rivers, creeks, dams and lakes.
“The messages from our ‘Be Water Safe, Not Sorry’ campaign are clear – always supervise children around water, don’t drink or take drugs and swim and always swim between the flags,” Mr Grant said.
“Summer is over, but the dangers around our rivers, beaches and swimming pools remain.”
Mr Grant said the government would continue a multi-faceted approach to water safety through public education and awareness campaigns and working with water safety experts.
“Following the success of the inaugural Water Safety Forum in 2017, another will be held in 2018,” he said.
Mr Grant said Royal Life Saving NSW had again been commissioned to undertake detailed analysis of the drowning statistics to guide government decision making.