Holidaymakers off the coast of Saint-Tropez had a narrow escape when a Canadair firefighting plane grazed their unlicensed vessel, according to a report in French daily Le Figaro.

Nine of the specialised aircraft had been fighting the fire to the west of the town and were scooping seawater from a designated area off-limits to pleasure craft.

Following the incident on Tuesday the Maritime Prefecture reminded boaters that it is mandatory to move 500 metres away from the Canadair scooping areas which have absolute priority in this type of emergency situation. Craft should stay clear for one hour after the last overflight. The fine for failing to observe this rule is just 135 euros.

PHOTO: Civil Protection