With the support of the Lifelong Learning Programme

It has been 9 months now since Boat DIGEST kicked off. Our first target has been accomplished and all the necessary information concerning owners’ awareness and current dismantling practices have been gathered. We are currently working on defining training and awareness modules contents, according to the inputs received.

Our first newsletter was published four months ago and now we are back to inform you on the project’s progress. In this publication you can read reports from the national meetings and interviews for recreational craft owners and dismantlers, European Boating Association (EBA) and Boat DIGEST collaboration, as well as about new developments in Sweden, Italy or Belgium. This issue of the newsletter also presents a dismantling network.

Getting feedback from owners and dismantlers

As part of the project’s activities, between January and May2014, Boat DIGEST partners carried out a series of workshops and interviews in 5 different countries. Two workshops for boat dismantlers were held in France and Turkey, while the other two for the owners took place in Italy and in the UK. Also, in Spain and in the UK interviews with the recreational craft owners were carried out.We present conclusions from these meetings below.

Questionnaires, developed to collate current end-of-life practices of (1) recreational craft owners and (2) dismantlers remain open online (available in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish)

Questionnaire for recreational craft owners
Questionnaire for recreational craft dismantlers

Your valuable feedback will be priceless in providing Boat DIGEST with a detailed overview of current practices and attitudes.

Results obtained from workshops and questionnaires will be published on the Boat DIGEST website around July 2014.

A) Workshops with boat dismantlers

    Report from France

On 29 January 2014 in Paris, APER gathered its members to discuss the boat dismantling and recycling results of the French network. In France, where the APER dismantling scheme has been in place for a few years now, the estimated capacity of the dismantling companies is of 400 operations per year, however in 2013 there has been a slight decline in demand.

In order to offer new recycling solutions for dismantling companies, APER has been working with the French federation of plastics & composites(Fédération de la plasturgie et des composites) and recently with REPROCOVER, a Belgian company which has developed a unique recycling process that enables to turn waste of (composite) thermosetting plastics into a new raw material (more about REPROCOVER below). At the moment there is no industrial solution for material valorisation of composite in France, while a patented process is available in Italy but is not exploited at industrial scale. The material valorisation should be done in cooperation with industries producing composite. When it comes to fiberglass, 90% of companies do an energy valorisation.

From a legal point of view, France has a procedure in place to deal with lost or abandoned property (including wrecks and abandoned boats) but there are problems with applying the text in practice. The French network APER is currently working with insurance companies to organise an administrative and financial procedure of dismantling when the recreational craft is damaged and no longer repairable. The insurance company would then pay a dismantler for the operation and the owner would be indemnified. Looking at the long-term financial viability of the system, APER also recommends that dismantling be funded throughout boats’ life rather than falling on the shoulders of the last owner.

More about the French network APER on

    Report from Turkey

On 7 February 2014, some 25 participants attended the workshop organised by DokuzEylulUniveristy, Institute of Marine Sciences and Technology, in Izmir. During the meeting it was concluded that the number ofabandoned boats at marinas is gradually increasing in this country. In some marinas, abandoned boats already represent 2-3 % of their total capacity. These boats are not officially registered and when not under Turkish flag it can be difficult to obtain information about the owners.

The best infrastructure for recycling recreational craft could be established integrally with the facilities where they are manufactured. Ship recyclers, for example, have no interest in recycling fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) vessels at all, because of poor economic value of the materials. The automotive industry has also major problems with recycling these materials. Ground scraps in quarries are used as the filler. In FRP production facilities, a large amount of scrap is accumulated. It is sent to dealers or to energy facilities, which are getting energy from burning (energy valorisation).

During the workshop, some legal issues were also discussed.The attendees concluded boat dismantling is in the scope of “hazardous waste management”. TheTurkish Ship Recycling Regulation that has entered into force in 2004is not easy to apply to the recycling of recreational craft. On the other hand, new draft regulations could be prepared. The new environmental regulations that were prepared in compliance with IMO's Hong Kong Convention on ship recycling covering occupational health and safety and environmental issues constitute a sufficient legal basis with adaptations to recreational craft recycling. 
Participants unanimously expressed the opinion that recycling of FRP recreational craft cannot be considered as commercial activities, due to the poor value of waste.

B) Workshops with recreational craft owners

    Report from Italy

On 21 March 2014 in Rome, the workshop’s discussions concentrated on the dismantling of recreational craft in Europe in general and in Italy specifically. The feasibility of recycling the waste deriving from the used boats was examined, while the Italian research centre CNR gave the example of an aircraft dismantling operation.

The participants of the workshop concluded that even though boat owners are aware of the problem caused by abandoned boats, they don’t know what to do with an old craft, as there is no sufficient information about available dismantling companies in Italy that could handle the craft at the end of their useful life. At the same time, when asked about alternatives to deconstructing, the attendees answered in majority that there were none, while less than a third thought there were some alternatives. Boat owners also said to have too little information about their own responsibilities in relation to the administrative and physical decommissioning of the old boats.

The meeting with the recreational craft owners didn’t bring an answer to one of the most crucial question, about the financial responsibility. Most of the owners present said they were not ready to pay for dismantling, while 23% of owners would do so. When it came to giving an acceptable price, the range was almost as wide as the number of participants, from 5% of the price of the boat, to amounts ranging from 100 to 10,000 EUR.

    Report from Spain

In Spain between March and April 2014, some 68 bilateral interviews were carried out with recreational craft owners with the aim to obtain information on the current awareness among boat owners and the boat’s end-of-life practices. LEITAT Technological Center visited marinas in the following regions: Port Esportiu Port Olímpic(Barcelona, Catalonia), Port de Mataró  (Mataró), Port Forum (SantAdrià de Besòs, Barcelona), Marina Badalona (Badalona) and Port de Masnou  (Masnou).

    Report from the United Kingdom

On the 8th of May, The University of Strathclyde in Scotland organised a workshop for boat owners at the Kip Marina in Inverkip (Scotland). The event was publicised by various organisations such as the Clyde Cursing Club, Caledonia Sailing and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and provided a platform for boat owners to give their views and opinions on the issue of end-of-life practices and the recycling of recreational craft.

Unfortunately, due to unseasonably bad weather, the turnout of participants was low but the feedback from the group assembled was really useful in gaining an insight into the practices and thoughts of recreational craft owners in the UK. The general consensus from the owners at the meeting was that while there were rare cases of abandoned boats in UK marinas, the issue of recycling of recreational craft is not as problematic as the situation witnessed in Southern European countries.

Boats in UK marinas tend to have a younger age profile and are usually sold on to further owners, usually in Eastern Europe and even as far away as India. However, all the owners agreed that there was not enough information available on what they should do to prepare the boats for end-of-life options available to them in seeking services to recycle boats and how much it may cost.

The Boat DIGEST consortium will now take this feedback on board and integrate it into the development of the next phases of the project which will involve creating an awareness module to assist boat owners with help after their recreational craft’s useful life is over.


Looking for a dismantling facility? Take a look at our map

When a boat reaches the end of its useful life, it is often complicated to find out how the craft can be disposed of in a responsible and environmentally sound manner.

After having identified dismantling companies working with boats throughout Europe, the Boat DIGEST project is proud to announce the creation of an online map showing existing dismantling sites in the various countries in Europe.

The objective of this map is to provide boat owners with information and to give visibility to the dismantling companies which are often not well known by the nautical community in Europe. This map can also help attract new business opportunities by helping you identify various actors in Europe.
Take a look at the map here: http://www.boatdigest.eu/dismantling-network.asp

Boat DIGEST aims to update this map on a regular basis. If you are a recreational craft dismantler or work for a FRP management company and you wish to appear on this European map or if you know a recycling/dismantling organisation wishing to share their details, please contact us at contact@boatdigest.euWe will get in touch with you shortly and include the information provided by you on the website for free.


The Boat DIGEST Project welcomes EBA on its Advisory Board

The Boat DIGEST project team is pleased to announce that European Boating Association - EBA, theassociation representing recreational craft users, has decided to join the project’s advisory board. At the occasion of the EBA Assembly General in Palma de Mallorca (Spain) on 25-26 April 2014, the project Boat DIGEST was presented to all their members and the offer was made to EBA to join in.

Speaking to over 30 representatives from Europe, European Boating Industry (a partner of Boat DIGEST) presented the main objectives of the project, its partners and allocated tasks, the actions already undertaken and the future activities. The participants were encouraged to give their feedback and input by filling in the available online questionnaires and contacting the project partners directly to exchange ideas. This offer for cooperation arrived in a timely fashion since the EBA has been running its own working group on boats’ end-of-life from a user’s perspective.

Giancarlo Olimbo, Chairman of the EBA Working Group on Boats’ End-of-Life, stressed the importance to move away from a “disposal approach” to a “recycling approach”, where boat’s waste can be reused in new products, quoting the example of the up-cycling technology developed in Italy and about which we are reporting in this newsletter.


New developments in Sweden: start of a national system for recycling recreational craft

Sweboat (Swedish Marine Industries Federation) together with BåtskrotenSverige AB (Sweden’s first commercial boat recycling company) and Stena Recycling AB (Sweden’s leading recycling company with a nationwide network of more than 100 branches) have started a project with the aim to build up a national widespread system for recycling recreational craft. The project, expected to last until the second half of 2015, is funded by its members and with money from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth – Tillväxtverket, as well as the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management –HavsochVattenmyndigheten.

The objective is to provide users with an operational system where the used vessels are taken care of in a safe, environmentallyfriendly manner. The existence of the system should reduce the occurrence of abandoned boats along river banks and in the wild. Additionally, such a system should help get rid of the wrecks occupying grounds and create new boat storage in many places, currently full of litter. Developing this new consumer service could also contribute to creation of jobs and a new market.


Boating has been a Swedish folk movement since the 1920’s. Two million people in the country have an access to the estimated fleet of 880 000 leisure boats. It ranks Sweden the top four on the list of “boat per person” ratio worldwide. The heyday of boating began in the 1970’s when the Swedish boat production exploded and several hundred thousand plastic boats were sold around the country. Boats made of FRP have a very long lifetime and even boats from the 1970’s, if well-maintained, work just fine today. Due to the boats durability and relatively high resale value, there has been no need for a recycling system of recreational craft for a long time, but the change in demands from boat owners and a rapidly declining resale value since the economic crisis have changed the circumstances and consumer’s behaviours.


In search of innovative solutions

While addressing the issue of boats which reach end of their useful life, it is crucial to identify recycling technologies and management systems that will help keep our environment sustainable. Examples of Italy and Belgium show that certain methods to achieve this goal are already available.

In Italy, UCINA and the Boat DIGEST partner CNR (Department of Molecular Design of the Italian Research Council) together with DSA of University of Genoa and SDABocconi have been working for some time now on the development and the evaluation of waste management solutions.

The idea is to reuse and recycle the disassembled materials, in particular fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP),byapplying technologies based on waste/sheet/moulding/compound (WSMC) criteria.These technologies allowobtaining composite thermoplastic sheets by blending different kinds of polymers, such as FRP or polystyrene (EPS). The latter constitutes a great fraction of urban waste, high percentage of which comes from packaging. As a result of the process,a “technocomposite” material of high mechanical performance is produced, which could be recycled indefinitely after use.

The Italian solution could be put in place not only in the boating sector but also in other fields, where FRP is used in large amounts or in sectors using polystyrene (EPS). The advantage would be cost reductions of waste management and purchasing secondary raw material at a cheaper price. Creating a “return cycle” could be reflected in the decrease of value of the raw materials.

In Belgium, after several years of research, the company REPROCOVER has developed a unique technique that enables it to turn waste of (composite) thermosetting plastics, such as polyesters, Bakelite, epoxy, polyurethane and waste of fibreglass into a new raw material.

Non-thermoplastic (composite) industrial waste is being broken, ground and sieved into small granules (with a diameter of maximum 6mm). A similar recycling process is carried out on fibreglass waste. Subsequently, both substances are being dried out and mixed with each other. This new “raw material" is later mixed with polyole and isocianate, poured out and pressed in product moulds, triggering off a chemical reaction (cold pressure process).

REPROCOVER product waste is 100% recycled or reused (with the recycling dust being sold as a concrete additive), based on the "cradle to cradle" principle, illustrating the "sustainability" of the products.
To read more, have a look at http://www.reprocover.com/en

With the support of the Life Long Learning Programme of the European Union. This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication /communication reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein. Grant Agreement 2013-1-ES1-LEO05-67616.


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This is the second issue of the Boat DIGEST newsletter. Boat DIGEST is a 2-year EU-funded project aiming at improving boat dismantling practices in Europe and raising awareness on this issue in the nautical community.

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You can find more information about the Boat DIGEST project on www.boatdigest.eu