A GIANT duck, pink flamingos and dogs in life jackets took to the water today for the Dorset Dinghy Day.

The annual event sees hundreds of vessels make their way down the River Stour from Iford Bridge to Tuckton Bridge.

The flotilla set off from about midday and included everything from proper dinghy boats, paddleboards, rafts made our of picnic benches and inflatable unicorns.

It was started in 2014 by a group of players from the Dorset Dockers Rugby Club and has since turned into a huge community event with thousands expected to take part.

According to Joe Barton and James Osborne - two of the original Dorset Dinghy Day participants - the beauty of the event is that it is free and open for all members of the community who just want to have a bit of fun.

Joe said: "It was just a group of friends from the rugby club who did it the first year.

"Some people saw us doing it and asked if they could get involved the following year and it seems to have just grown and grown.

"Now we have thousands of people coming along and taking part. It's turned into a great community event.

"It's completely free - people just have to bring their own rafts. It's just supposed to be for fun."

Now in it's fourth year, the event has more community involvement with the Old Bridge Tea Rooms and Iford Baptists Church getting involved.

Saturday's event also included a face painting gazebo and an "inflation station" for those people who didn't want to blow up their own dinghy.

But as the event has grown James and Joe have said they have tried to make sure the local surroundings don't suffer.

"We have been handing out black bin bags for rubbish and we have also hired a skip for the end of the course at Tuckton Bridge where people can leave their vessels if they no longer want them," added James.

"This is a free community event and the only way it can continue is if we all chip in to make sure the environment is left in the ship shape condition."

The Riverside Pub at Tuckton Bridge also put on a special Dinghy Day menu so hungry sailors could whet their appetite after an afternoon on the high seas.