Auckland, Northland and Raglan lifeguards had their busiest weekend since peak summer, rescuing 46 people.
This included two mass rescues - one at Muriwai bringing 13 people to shore - and another at Raglan saving 14 people.
Raglan patrol captain Molly Abrams said lifeguards had been given cotton masks to wear on the job when practicable.
She said saving lives was the number one priority for lifeguards.
Raglan director of lifesaving David Galuszka said masks were worn in certain situations, but never in a rescue.
* This story has been corrected to make clear that masks are never warn during rescues.