Beachgoers are basking in warmer waters this summer as the usually frigid Atlantic Ocean offers up higher temperatures than Maritimers are used to.

“It feels like I went swimming in a bathtub,” says beachgoer Reginald Wilson.

“It’s beautiful. It’s like, 20 degrees,” agrees Halifax resident Philip Mirosavljevic. “It’s like lake water.”

Cole Harbour’s Rainbow Haven Beach was teeming with sun and sand lovers Wednesday. With water temperatures of 20 degrees Celsius, swimmers were basking in what felt like bathwater.

CTV meteorologist Cindy Day says temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean have been 1.5 degrees above normal this summer and the difference is being felt both on the beach, and further offshore.

“We think automatically because it has been so hot that our ocean temperatures are warmer,” says Day. “But if we go back to January, we’ve had higher than normal ocean temperatures since January, record warm temperatures in April, so it’s been building for several months and will continue to build into the fall.”

Nathan Ritcey and his friends are visiting the region from Ontario and they were surprised when they took a dip at Lawrencetown Beach.

“We came here a couple years ago and it was freezing and now we’re just walking in and out,” says Ritcey.

The warm waters have also sent more students to surf instructor Bridget Turner.

“Business is great when the water is warmer,” says Turner, who teaches surfing lessons at Kannon Beach. “It’s more likely for people to try surfing for the first time, or just getting into the water to take a boogie board out.”

With ocean temperatures expected to reach their peak in September, beachgoers should have another month of warm water ahead of them.

With files from CTV Atlantic's Felicia Yap