Multiple drownings blight new year start

Two men have drowned while saving their teenage children from rips in a series of deadly waterway incidents as Australians flock to beaches, lakes and rivers in the new year.

JANUARY 1

* Off-duty police officer Peter Stone drowned in a rip after saving the life of his teenage son at an unpatrolled beach on the NSW south coast. The 44-year-old couldn't be revived after he was pulled from the water in the incident at Bogola Beach, south of Narooma, about 1.30pm on New Year's Day.

* The body of kayaker Andrew Donohue, 49, was recovered from the water in Tasmania's remote northwest after he went missing on a late-night fishing trip at Perkins Island two days earlier.

* A 34-year-old man disappeared under water while swimming with friends at Lake Eildon, northeast of Melbourne, about 4.30pm. His body was found the next morning after an extensive search.

JANUARY 3

* A 42-year-old man died trying to save his teenage daughter when she was caught in a rip at Black Head on the NSW north coast. A surfer took the girl and the man to shore, but the father couldn't be revived.

ROYAL LIFE SAVING SUMMER DROWNING TOLL

* Since summer began, there have been at least 28 drownings Australia-wide, including nine children.

* Nearly half of the drownings occurred in inland waterways such as rivers, creeks and lakes, while 39 per cent happened in coastal waters.

* Last summer 145 people drowned, making it the worst summer in over 20 years. This year's summer toll is about half the toll at the same point in 2021-22.