Passengers have been flocking to ferries, according to latest figures.

Britain's ferry operators carried more than 9.4 million passengers in the first four months of this year, an increase of 3.5% on the same period last year.

The statistics released by the Discover Ferries organisation reveal a continuing upward trend. Figures for the whole of last year showed passenger numbers rising to 38 million, a 2.6% increase on 2012.

For January to April this year, all ferry route sectors reported growth, with crossings to continental Europe up 4.1% to 4.45 million.

The number of passenger cars carried by UK ferries increased by 2.4% to 1.93 million, and coach numbers increased by 1.4% to 39,650.

Discover Ferries director Bill Gibbons said: "This represents a positive and increasing growth trend for ferry traffic, following on from a strong 2013.

"Despite a stormy and wet and challenging opening to 2014, ferry passenger numbers have grown strongly since, with operators continuing to offer exceptionally competitive prices."