Little is known about the water safety knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of international tourists holidaying in New Zealand. An online survey was conducted among New Zealand residents (n = 413) and international tourists (n =181) in August 2015. Significantly more New Zealand residents (69%) than tourists (40%) reported swimming at a beach. Tourists were more likely to hold unsafe beliefs related to swimming and boating activity. More tourists agreed that they would swim at a non-patrolled beach. Both residents and visitors had a poor understanding of rip currents at surf beaches. Ways of promoting water safety messaging to address these shortcomings are discussed.