A bear treated tourists to a surprise visit when it turned up alongside their boat near Phillips Arm on British Columbia's south-central coast.

Whale-watchers spotted the large black bear swimming next to their vessel and captured the moment on camera.

Nick Templeman, the tour guide from Campbell River, British Columbia, told CHEK News what he thought was a sea otter turned out to be a "nice, fuzzy bear." Templeman said the animal eventually went ashore.

The American black bear is native to North America and can grow up to 6ft long. A large male black bear can weight up to 600lbs, but females rarely exceed 200lbs.

Bears have been turning up in unexpected places in the US. Last week, a bear was caught sneaking into a swimming pool for a dip on a hot day in La Verne, California.

The homeowner's daughter bumped into the grizzly intruder when she was taking the rubbish out, but retreated to the safety of the house before filming the bear from a distance.

After eating from the bin and wandering around the backyard, the bear slipped into the pool for a swim.

The bear was caught on camera doing a few laps before trying to haul itself out - which took a few tries - before leaving.

Bear swimming
The bear swam alongside a whale-watching tour boat Storyful/YouTube