Report on End of Use Boats

For a long time it had seemed to our Boatbreakers team that we were the only people talking about end of use boats. It had always seemed like the marine industry had been closing their eyes and ears to the problem. But finally that appears to have changed.

METSTRADE 2019 End of Use Boats Panel

We recently watched the round up video of the end of life boat talk at METSTRADE show in Amsterdam. A panel of industry experts from across the world discussed the issue around boat disposal.

One person that stood out was Evan Ridley from RIMTA. They are an American company who are involved in a scheme to get old GRP from boats crushed down and into cement.

Helping Developments

At Boatbreakers we are always looking to help any developments in GRP recycling. Therefore we got in contact with Evan to try and get some more information about the US project.

He in turn was kind enough not only to reply to our questions but also put us in contact with Dr Simon Bray from AQASS Ltd.

Full End of Life Boats Report

AQASS Ltd are a marine consultancy and research company who have been tasked to compile a report on the issues around end of use boats.

You can read the full report here: End of Life Management of Fibre Reinforced Plastic Vessels.

Sinking Boats

One of the points in the report that stood out to us was the problem of scuttling a boat.

Boat owners often flippantly say to us that they will just sink a boat. In the past some have even argued it’s a good practice as the boat becomes an artificial reef.

However as the report suggests these sunken boat don’t necessarily sink and then stay in one place. They can be moved by the tides/currents and do damage to the ecosystem. In tropical waters the sunken wrecks could destroy coral reefs and in waters like the UK vital seagrass areas.

In addition the sunken boat may begin to break up. Inadvertently turning the boat into micro-plastics which can be so harmful to the marine environment as a whole.

Moving forward we hope to learn as much as we can and work closely with organisations like RIMTA and AQASS to try and unpick some of the issues we face in UK boat disposal.