THE COASTGUARD in Northern Ireland has issued a stern warning to the public after a surfer was caught attempting to ride the wash of a Belfast ferry.
A rescue team was called in over reports of an individual surfing perilously close to the Stena Superfast ferry.
After the ship sent out an emergency alert, the man managed to paddle back to shore at Holwood, Co. Down.
The several-thousand-tonne vessel used its horn to warn the surfer before alerting the Belfast Coastguard, who responded promptly to the scene.
Commenting on the incident, a spokesman for the Bangor Coastguard said: "Once on scene the team located the casualty and kept eyes on. The casualty managed to paddle his way back to shore in Holywood. Bangor Lifeboat was also tasked to the incident and was stood down on route. After speaking with the [individual concerned] it was confirmed he was intending to surf the wash from the superfast inbound to Belfast.
"The team warned of the dangers of being to close to such large vessels and about the dangers of being in the shipping lane."
Expressing bafflement at the situation, a member of the Bangor branch of the Royal National Lifeguard Institution (RNLI) said they were 'lost for words' following the surfer's reckless actions.
They added: "Bangor RNLI is speechless. Riding the surf of the Stena ferry in the shipping lane - who could have imagined there was anything wrong with that plan?"