A Sri Lankan, holidaying in Coffs Harbour from Sydney died at Sapphire Beach on Monday after he was pulled unconscious from the water.
Police said a post-mortem examination would seek to determine whether the Sri Lankan man, aged in his 50s, drowned after losing consciousness due to a pre-existing medical condition.
Coffs Harbour City Council's Lifeguard Services team leader Greg Hackfath said Monday's tragedy highlighted the dangers of swimming at unpatrolled beaches.
"We urge swimmers not to be complacent in the water and to stick to surf safety rules," Mr Hackfath said.
"Lifeguards and our water safety partners will be doing everything possible to prevent further tragedies occurring, but we need people to act responsibly and use commonsense when enjoying the beach.
"Know your ability and if conditions are testing, then don't push your limits."
The tragedy followed an eventful weekend on local beaches that saw three tourists saved from a rip at Diggers Beach.
Coffs Harbour professional lifeguard Alex Swadling came to the aid of the three swimmers who found themselves in trouble outside patrolled areas on Friday.