WEYMOUTH will host a major watersports event this weekend.

The ‘Ecover Blue Mile’, run in conjunction with the Marine Conservation Society, aims to raise money and awareness of the charity’s work protecting the coastline and marine life.

The two-day event based at Weymouth’s beach features a timed open-water swim, stand up paddleboard and kayaking programme, aquatriathlon and corporate team challenge, all open to the public.

The event also marks the beginning of Weymouth and Portland Borough Council’s Dorset Festival of Sport 2014 from July 19 to August 3, which celebrates two years since the London 2012 Olympic events came to Weymouth.

One of several highlights will be the visit from Olympic gold medallist Tim Baillie MBE.

The men’s canoe slalom champion secured the gold medal for team GB with his partner Etienne Stott at London’s 2012 Olympic Games.

He will be competing in both the kayaking and stand-up paddleboard events and is also scheduled to be visiting Weymouth beach to sign autographs on both days. Organisers say there will also be an ‘event village’ near the Sea Life Weymouth tower, where there will be a range of sports-related activities for the whole family including £3 kayaking and SUP taster sessions with qualified instructors.

The Marine Conservation Society will be stationed at the event village, giving advice on what how to protect the coastline and wildlife, and offering visitors a chance to sign up to volunteer.

Weymouth SeaLife Centre will also have a stand and will be giving out Octonauts stickers and activity sheets as well as running a children’s competition to win a VIP meet and greet with members of the Octonauts’ crew – Captain Barnacles, Kwazii and Peso.

Conrad Humphreys, Blue Mile’s organiser, said: "We're looking forward to having a great weekend on the water and seeing lots of people. Weymouth is such a brilliant venue and we can’t wait for it to get underway.”

For more information on the event or to enter, visit thebluemile.com