Old FRP Boats Detrimental to Marine Life

End of Life and Abandoned boats are having a detrimental effect on marine life.

After watching the BBC’s Countryfile we became aware of a new issue surrounding old Fibre Reinforced Plastic (FRP) boats. This particular episode was featuring Chichester Harbour. During the show the University of Brighton presented their findings that microparticles of FRP were found in the oysters in the harbour.

Oysters and Mussels

Subsequently this means that as old boats get damaged or abandoned the micro-plastics are digested by sea creatures. Most commonly oysters and mussels.

We have often talked about removing old boats from harbours because they become an eyesore or liability. Likewise they are a navigational hazard if a boat becomes a wreck. In short this new research highlights how an old boat can impact the natural environment around it.


There are knock on effects for humans who eat locally sourced sea food. As those micro-plastics will end up in us and like the oysters. These micro plastics may even get stuck in our bodies permanently.

On Countryfile the University, represented by Corina Ciocan, showed how they hope to install long strands of a specially designed filter membrane in to try and collect the micro-plastics. This is an innovative solution to a problem and will hopefully remove mini micro plastics from the environment.

However it doesn’t ultimately solve the issue of the source of the micro-plastics. It now becomes even more important the old boats are removed and disposed of responsibly. Rather than being left to become wrecks in harbours.

University Research

In an article written by Corina she explains, “The fibreglass is filtered by marine shellfish (in my own research I found up to 7,000 small shards in oysters in Chichester Harbour in southern England).

“The particulate material accumulated in the stomach of shellfish can block their intestinal tracts. Eventually leading to death through malnutrition and starvation.

“There is huge potential for these tiny specks of old boats to accumulate in bigger animals as they are transferred up the food chain.

“Those micro-particles are the resins holding the fibreglass together. They contain phthalates, a massive group of chemicals associated with severe human health impacts from ADHD to breast cancer, obesity and male fertility issues”.

Assisting with Study

Our Boatbreakers team thought it would be great to get in contact with the University. To see if we can assist them in anyway with their research. Boatbreakers have offered to provide sections of old FRP boats for the University to use in their studies.

Above all Boatbreakers don’t only want to clean up old boats. Ultimately we also want to help protect the marine environment we all enjoy in the UK and in Europe. We believe the more we can offer help to researchers universities the more we can all do to protect the environment we all enjoy.

Scrap Your Boat or Read More

You can read the rest of Corina’s article on the issues around End of life boats by clicking here. Furthermore to scrap you boat with us just send us your boat details on our Scrap Calculator.