A school is preparing to wave goodbye to the class of 2017 as they sail on to pastures new.

Eighteen students at the Lyme Regis Boat Building Academy will be walking their boats down to Lyme Regis Harbour, where they will be launched for the first time.

The students, who started the 38 week course in August, have completed their training, with the day marking the start of their lives as boat builders.

Seven boats have been built, including two 16-foot kayaks, one with a fibreglass/foam core and painted an eye-catching banana yellow colour, the other made of plywood panels.

Other student-built boats range from a 14 foot traditional clinker boat to a 17 foot Glen L 'Ski king' (powered by a 57 horse power engine) and a much larger 19 foot seven inches Sea Skiff (versatile sailing boat).

Pupils in the class have come from all over the world: Spain, USA and more locally.

Their backgrounds are just as varied: musicians, lawyers, builder, teachers, engineers and a 17-year-old school leaver, who at home in the Scillies, has already worked with more boats than most.

Students join the course for a variety of reasons.

Some wish to start a new career in the marine industry or to take a break from an intensive job, for others it's the first step in a lifelong dream to build boats.

Husband and wife Ros and David, both naval architects worked on bigger boats like aircraft carriers and destroyers.

The couple joined to build on their skills, in order to maintain their 40-year-old wooden Osprey sailing dinghy.

Yvonne Green, principal of the academy, said: "I'm confident that the students wishing to work in the marine industry will easily find employment.

"We have an excellent relationship with employers and students join our growing Graduates' Network, which is regularly updated with jobs and opportunities.

"There is a skills shortage in boat building, which is a thriving industry."

The boats set sale on Thursday, May 31 just before 9.30am after a few words from commander Tim Gedge.

All are welcome to attend to celebrate the achievements of the students.

For more information about the boats being launched, profiles of the students and graduate case studies, visit boatbuildingacademy.com