Abandoned Boats in 2023

Abandoned and derelict boats are a common sight across not just the UK’s waters but also around the world. As an island nation with so many Marinas, Harbours, Rivers, Lakes and Canals you are never too far from a dead boat.

The end-of-life-boats get a lot of media attention now. Even the One Show and Countryfile have highlighted the issue. However, the vast majority of boats Boatbreakers scrap are for owners who just want to escape the costs of boating. Some of the storage costs along the south coast in particular can be eye watering. Many owners feel trapped as they could struggle to sell a boat and will continue to pay the yearly fees.

Cost of Living Crisis

All boat owners know that boating is an expensive hobby but with the cost-of-living crisis and price rises across the board, boaters are being squeezed like never before. Sadly, this will likely lead to a number of people just walking away from their boats. Which leaves others to pick up the bill.

As registration of ownership isn’t always mandatory and changing owners so simple. It’s too easy for an unscrupulous owner to walk away from the boat. Ultimately the authorities go through the legal process to become the owners of the boat. But then it’s down to them to pay for the disposal.

Glass Reinforced Plastic

Unlike a car, a boat usually costs the owner to have scrapped. This is largely due to the high costs to lift, prepare and transport the vessel. Then there is the waste disposal costs for the hull material. If the boat is Glass Reinforced Plastic (GRP) the material currently is not recycled. There are many materials that go into a boat hull which would have to be stripped first. Not to mention there isn’t anyone who wants the recycled GRP product. Until this is the case there won’t be a circular solution for the material.

There is now work to try and find a solution for the waste GRP from the marine sector. It’s a hot issue due to wind turbines also having the same problem. There is now a study being organised by DEFRA to work out how the government can help to prevent further abandonment and improve the waste disposal solutions.

Wave Upon Wave

In the meantime, boats and their owners are only getting older. With costs continuing to rise it could be a difficult period for many boat owners. Young people might not be able to get into boating like they once could and with an ageing demographic who currently own boats we could see wave upon wave of end of life and derelict vessels.

Despite the issues, it isn’t all doom and gloom. On the south coast Boatbreakers can help owners escape the costs of ownership with one last bill to pay to scrap the boat. Through our Boat Scrapyard Facebook Group we also try to recycle as much cheap chandlery as possible. This means that every old boat we scrap will be picked over by other owners to recycle as many parts as possible.