The Skerries harbour shark is spotted beside the slipway

A six foot shark came within an oar’s length of a group of young kids and their sailing instructor at the weekend – just metres from the shore at Skerries harbour.

Kerri-Ann Boylan told how she and her young pupils got the shock of their lives when the beast swam past their dinghy, describing the moment as “a scene straight out of Jaws”.

Kerri-Ann, 22, told The Gazette: “The shark was swimming in the shallow water near the slipway, with its fin clearly visible in the water.

“The children had a bird’s eye view of the shark, as they were at the front and side of the rib,” Kerri-Ann continued.

“Just as it passed the boat, I managed to get a photo of it. The shark was almost near enough to touch with an oar, such was the closeness of the encounter.

“The thought crossed my mind, just like the famous line in Jaws, ‘I think we need a bigger boat’.

“The excitement was palpable, – the cheering and shouting of the children really filled the air. It was a combination of excitement and nerves for the kids, who talked of nothing else for the rest of the day.”

Unfortunately the shark didn’t hang around for too long and just slipped away into deeper waters.

While it’s unclear what species of shark it was, Kerri-Ann – who has more than a passing knowledge of sharks having encountered them in Australia and America – was fairly certain it was a young basking shark.

She added: “To my knowledge, this is the first time that a shark has been spotted in Skerries in over 20 years and it has certainly caused a stir in the town.”

Basking sharks, which are often seen off the Irish coast, are the second largest shark in the world, but they are harmless to humans and feed on plankton.