Needless to hide behind a finger, it will be a big problem, that of fiberglass disposal: it is estimated that there are in Europe alone hundreds of thousands of abandoned “plastic” boats. Most of them small, unregistered.
Holland, for example, estimates 25,000 hulls at the end of their life cycle. One company, Jacht Recycling BV has started a recycling business with a certificate for the shipowner to exit the market and a commitment that reusable parts will be recycled.
THE SITUATION IN EUROPE
Europe has the highest concentration of recreational boats in the world, with an estimated more than 6 million boats in the European Union alone. With an average age of about 30 years, recreational boats are beginning to reach the end of their useful life and need appropriate safe and environmentally sustainable scrapping practices. This means that boat owners, marine professionals, and wreckers need proper training to know how to disassemble and dispose of potentially hazardous materials in a boat.
THE BOAT DIGEST PROJECT
Recently, with the support of the European Community, the Boat Digest project was created: the initiative aims to implement the skills of boat operators and, at the same time, to raise awareness among boat owners and industry professionals on end-of-life boat issues. Through project activities owners and operators will be transferred knowledge gained by partners in previous activities on new materials and technologies; training tools and guidelines for disassembly and scrapping of recreational boats will also be provided.
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE PROJECT
The expected impact is to improve scrappers’ skills on environmental issues and operator safety. Raising awareness of these issues among operators will contribute to a decrease in accidents during vessel disassembly processes. An additional aspect of the project’s impact involves raising awareness among owners and boating professionals of the need to plan sustainably for the scrapping of recreational boats at the end of their lives, thereby reducing the number of boats abandoned at sea or on shorelines. www.boatdigest.eu