Limited progress being made to dismantle end of life boats conference told

What to do with end of life boats remains a challenge and the problem is mounting
What to do with end of life boats remains a challenge and the problem is mounting

There are currently 13,000 end of life boats in Holland, a figure that is predicted to rise to 75,000 by 2030. In France 500 boats were dismantled last year however there is still a backlog of at least ten to 15 years.

These are just some of the quantities affecting the industry the METSTRADE Sustainability in the Marine Industry conference was told. But Industry leaders also heard how some progress is now being made with end of life boats – albeit on a limited scale.

A new law is due to come into force in France in January 2018 creating extended producer responsibility for all new boats and a nominal tax is set to be introduced to pay for the scheme.

“We all have to manage the end of life funding,” said Pierre Barbleu, Boat Dismantling Network manager. ”A new tax is something that people don’t want so it is very tough.”

The conference discussed the measures being taken to get rid of end of life boats, how to ensure these craft have some value and that boats need to be designed for the future, with greater use of natural, eco-friendly materials.

“There should be a real cooperation between partners on an international level,” said Geert Dijks, MD HISWA Holland Marine Industries.

“Boats are just one element in our industry, we need to look at the industries themselves.”

Best practice needs to be shared and the industry needs to collectively agree on the way forward.

The conference was told how GRP fibres are being used in asphalt and the powder used for roofing materials.

Solutions can be found, said Paul Gramsma, CFO, Extreme Eco Solutions, who explained how his company is working with Flexipol Composites to make sinks from recycled GRP and is due to recycle 3.5 tonnes of the material next year.

Another organisation working on alternative products is Britain’s Land Rover BAR America’s Cup team of which Susie Tomson is the sustainability manager.

“Global carbon fibre composition is growing by 10% per year,” she said. “However one of the challenges for me was what we could do with the bins of carbon fibre.

“Tonnes of material go into building a 1.5 tonne boat,” she said. “But recycled carbon is only a tenth as pure as virgin carbon.

“We wanted to use recycled materials for the docking boat but the materials were not good enough quality.”

The organisation has teamed up with Anglepoise lamps to reuse the material to create new items.

Another option is working with dinghy associations such as the Optimist Association that is looking at certifying a recycled material.

“Olympic sailing is the next step,” added Enrico Benco, CEO Go Sailing for a Change. “If we can get enough volume then prices will drop and it will take sailing and the boating industry into a leading position for sustainability.”

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