A Flinders man died and several other people were rescued, including three boys, in incidents across South Coast beaches and waterways yesterday.
The 32-year-old from Flinders was on a bodyboard at Inyadda Beach, Bendalong, about 10am yesterday when it is believed he suffered a medical emergency.
An ambulance spokesman said paramedics received a call at 10.15am that a man had been found unconscious in the water.
A doctor who happened to be at the beach at the time performed CPR until paramedics arrived. They spent about 20 minutes trying to revive the man but he died at the scene.
Shoalhaven Police Local Area Command is investigating the circumstances surrounding the man's death although a spokesman said he may have had a pre-existing medical condition that caused the emergency.
In the Illawarra yesterday, three teenage boys sparked a rescue effort when their canoe overturned on Lake Illawarra.
The 15-year-olds set off from Primbee just after 3pm and were seen paddling west.
However, ambulance paramedics were called to the lake just before 4pm after reports the canoe had overturned.
Two of the boys were picked up by a fishing boat, however a third boy remained missing.
The ambulance rescue helicopter was brought in to search from the sky, but the missing teen was found onshore a short time later.
Meantime, rescue crews treated a woman who collapsed at Austinmer Beach yesterday morning after suffering an asthma attack.
She was treated by lifeguards until ambulance crews arrived.
At the same beach, lifeguards also rescued a young bodyboarder who was caught in a rip and dragged outside the flagged area.
With temperatures in the Illawarra forecast to reach 31 degrees today, Wollongong City Council beach services co-ordinator Jason Foye said lifesavers were expecting a busy New Year's Day.
He said bad weather and small sea conditions over the Christmas period had led to fewer rescues than previous summers but he felt today's public holiday and warm weather would bring people to the beach in droves.
Mr Foye offered some advice for those beachgoers, whether they were in or out of the water.
"We've got 17 patrolled beaches up and down the coast; if you're going to go for a swim, head to one of those beaches," he said.
"If there's no flags, there's no swim - that's a simple rule we like to put out there. And if you do get into trouble, just stay calm and raise your arm.
"Also, be aware of the heat and remember the sun safety rules. It will be very warm. We advise people to bring some shade with them, make sure they have something to drink and they slip, slop, slap and wrap on those sunglasses and spend some time in the shade."
Today's expected high temperatures have also led the NSW Rural Fire Service to declare a total fire ban for the Illawarra and Shoalhaven.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting warm weather with temperatures in the high 20s for tomorrow and Thursday.