MYSTERY still surrounds exactly what "large marine animal" was spotted in the water off Boscombe earlier this week.

As reported by the Daily Echo, Boscombe beach visitors were ordered out of the water by lifeguards around 1 pm on Wednesday, August 4, due to reports of marine wildlife in the area.

Since then, the RNLI have confirmed they were investigating reports of a ‘large marine animal’ in the sea.

However, the charity was not able to confirm what the mysterious sea creature indeed was.

The Echo reported the account of a local fisherman who saw “something big” in the water which took his rod and nearly capsized his kayak.

With rumours it could be a shark circulating online the Echo has contacted several experts to get their opinion on the possibility that it was indeed such a creature.

Peter Tinsley, marine policy and evidence manager at the Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “The sea is a big place so anything can turn up, what's more likely is a basking shark but that would be on the surface.

“Thresher sharks are known in this area chasing mackerel on the surface so that's a possibility.”

“However, a shark probably would not take a lure so it could be a bluefin tuna, really a large sunfish is possible -- they have an enormous fin and can be found on the surface.”

Mr. Tinsley reminded people to be respectful of large marine animals and not go crashing over, but instead observe from a distance.

Sarah Hodgson, a coastal centres assistant also at the Wildlife Trust, told the Echo that “the sharks that we get in British waters aren’t considered to be dangerous or aggressive to humans” with no record of unprovoked attacks in the UK.

She added: “Sharks are regularly encountered by divers and anglers and some species can be found swimming close to the shore including smooth hounds and even basking sharks.”

Basking sharks are the biggest that can be found in UK waters, but they only feed on plankton.

It is of course hard to speculate on what it could be without evidence but the Director of Conservation at the Sharks Trust, Ali Hood, outlined the possibilities.

She said: “UK waters are home to a fascinating diversity of large marine life, dolphins, small whales, bluefin tuna and a variety of sharks, this sighting could be one of many exciting species.”