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End of Life Boats

by Phil Heaton 4 Dec 2023 14:12 UTC
Abandoned catamaran © Phil Heaton

The question of what to do with boats at the end of their useful lives has been an issue for a long time. The Green Blue is looking to tackle the problem and is asking for assistance from the public.

The disposal of old GRP boats has become a significant problem in recent years as the number of GRP boats reaching the end of their lifespan and needing to be disposed of has increased. GRP is a strong, durable material hence it is commonly used in boat construction. However, when these boats are no longer seaworthy, they pose a major environmental and logistical challenge.

GRP is not biodegradable and can release harmful chemicals into the environment if not properly managed. As a result, many old boats end up abandoned in waterways or on shorelines, posing a threat to ecosystems and wildlife.

A new initiative has been launched by The Green Blue in the UK for reporting abandoned boats which is a model for adoption more widely [see here].

At the same time, traditional disposal methods, such as landfilling or incineration, are often not suitable for large, complex structures like boats. As a result, many boat owners and authorities struggle to find cost-effective options as recycling the various components of a boat is also complex and can be costly. This is clearly a problem that can only get worse and more needs to be done to find sustainable solutions that minimise the environmental impact of disposal. This link gives more information about disposal initiatives in the UK and elsewhere.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of Ocean Cruising Club.

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