End-of-use boats


 Acknowledgement of the issue

In November 2016, the European Commission published its study on the Nautical Tourism, with the contributions and support of European Boating Industry, where the Commission listed the "end of use" boats as one of the main challenges for the nautical industry which might pose a threat to the environment and a recycling challenge.

The study confirms that the yachts' average lifespan has been estimated at 30 years, although in some instances this may stretch to 40-45 years. This lifespan has further increased over time due to the use of stronger materials, such as fibre reinforced polymer (FRP), 'reinforced plastic'. It is thought that between 1% and 2% of the 6 million boats kept in Europe, in other words at least 80,000 boats, reach their 'end of use' each year. However, only around 2,000 of those are dismantled.

You can read the full study 'Assessment of the impact of business development improvements around nautical tourism'.


Boat DIGEST dismantling map

On 23 September 2015, European Boating Industry hosted the final Boat DIGEST conference in Brussels, which presented the general overview on the end-of-life boats (ELB) and the main project outcomes. While challenges are still remaining, especially when it comes to financing models of dismantling ELBs, the Boat DIGEST project gave more visibility to the work carried out in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and UK (consortium of 9 partners from these countries). As the inititative's main activities have been to identify boat dismantling locations and practices in those countries in order to understand the common problems, accidents and hazards that can be encountered in Europe.

After studying key issues relevant to recreational craft owners related to ELBs and analysing training needs for dismantlers in the past months, Boat DIGEST has come up with four sets of "Guidelines" targeted to marinas, associations, schools, repair and refit companies. The "Guidelines" (available in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish) target various audiences: boaters and nautical associations, marinas and leisure harbours, repair & refit companies, and boating schools. They also offer information on the actions that can be taken by these four groups and the role they play in raising boat owners’ awareness about the issue. They can be freely distributed to all interested parties, as long as they are not modified in their current format.

Boat DIGEST also developed an online and free of charge training course for the professional staff working at waste management facilities and having to treat boats. The training contains 4 units covering administrative, financial and practical issues. An online test verifies the dismantlers' knowledge and if over 70% of answers are correct, a certificate is issued by University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland), one of the project partners. Another useful outcome is the regularly updated dismantling network map which helps identify and locate professional dismantling sites in Europe.

The above-mentioned and other tools, such as an awareness raising module for users, educational videos or posters are all accessible via www.boatdigest.eu

You can see a boat dismantling network map created by the project.

Paris Nautic 2015Mirna speaking on stage

On 8 December 2015, the conference “Boat’s end-of-life, truly the end?” was held at the Nautic – Paris International Boat Show - jointly organised by European Boating Industry, the French federation FIN and Reed Exposition. The event gathered a large audience made of exhibitors, companies, visitors and public authorities eager to learn more about the current approaches to boat dismantling across the world and discuss how to make this activity viable in the long term.

Watch the video spot.



The figures

Currently there is no european inventory, therefore the figures are estimation

Fleet characteristics: 7 to 8 meters, made in fiberglass and polyester resin

Average lifespan: 30 to 40 years

Number of out-of-use boats: 80 000 units

Abandoned: 6000 to 9000 units, which means 90% of the boats are not abandoned.

Past EU projects

Archive of past projects:


 Boat Digest logo

In a nutshell

Time period: 2013 - 2015

Visit the project website: www.boatdigest.eu

Read the project outcomes and results


Project's objectives

The Boat Dismantling Insight by Generating Environmental and Safety Training (Boat DIGEST) project aimed to improve the Health, Safety and Environmental (HSE) standards of recreational craft dismantling practices. It addressed skill gaps, while at the same time raising the awareness of end of life responsibilities and options for recreational craft owners and professionals. This was achieved through transferring innovative products, tools and training from previous research activities into vocational education and training (VET) for those involved with the dismantling of recreational craft and an awareness module which provides end of life guidance for those who own recreational craft.


Key outcomes

  • Guidelines on end-of-life recreational craft

After studying key issues relevant to recreational craft owners related to end of life boats and analysing training needs for dismantlers, Boat DIGEST has come up with four sets of "Guidelines" targeting various audiences: boaters and nautical associations, marinas and leisure harbours, repair & refit companies, and boating schools.

Because your national language is important, these "guidelines" are available in 5 languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish.

  • Training modules

Boat DIGEST also developed an online and free of charge training course for the professional staff working at waste management facilities and having to treat boats. The training contains 4 units covering administrative, financial and practical issues.

An online test verifies the dismantlers' knowledge and if over 70% of answers are correct, a certificate is issued by University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland), one of the project partners.

  • Dismantling network

A regularly updated dismantling network map helps identify and locate professional dismantling sites in Europe. 

You can see a boat dismantling network map created by the project.


TCC-SCV Logo TCC-SCV final-small


In a nutshell

Time period: 2014 - 2016

Visit the project website: http://www.tcc-scv.eu

Read the project outcomes and results


Project's objectives

Despite a single internal market and greatly simplified administrative procedures for EU citizens to live and study anywhere in Europe, certain professional qualifications are still not accepted by various Member States and this is why an EU-funded project called TCC-SCV (TRECVET Core Curriculum for Skippers of Small Commercial Vessels) was initiated.

TCC-SCV kicked-off in Palma de Mallorca in November 2014 and finished in August 2016 with its main outputs presented at the "Skippers Working Without Borders" conference on 16 June 2016 in Brussels.

The project has been looking at the problem of restricted working mobility with regard to professional skippers on small vessels within the European Union (who unlike merchant seafarers don’t enjoy worldwide mobility). The initiative has gathered 10 partners from 9 countries, namely Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Romania, Slovenia, Spain and UK.

TCC-SCV expanded its comparison software (back then 3 sets of qualifications), developed in 2011 with TRECVET project, to 7 national qualifications now from Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Slovenia, Spain and UK. The comparison software (providing transparency and simplicity when comparing similar qualifications from different countries) will also contain information about the commonalities and differences of all 7 qualifications. This information will be used to inform and assist the maritime administrations in Czech Republic and Romania, where work is in progress to develop the relevant legal framework for the profession. The detailed analysis of both theoretical and practical fundamental elements of each national qualification carried out by the TCC-SCV project will provide the information needed by maritime administrations to understand other national qualifications.


Key outcomes

Two main outcomes of the TCC-SCV initiative are: the Online Comparison Tool and the Common Core Curriculum. The Online Comparison Tool showed that today 80 to 90% of the 7 analysed qualifications are identical. It means that differences are far less than commonalities and that generally speaking the various qualifications are already very similar. This tool brings the much needed transparency and details about the content of each qualification, making it easy to understand what additional training or competences would be required when working for another Member State’s flag.
The Common Core Curriculum was designed based on the current common base. Based on the identified differences among Member States, the additional knowledge and competences would be proposed as modules. This way, each skipper can personalise his training needs according to the common core and the necessary additional modules requested by individual Member States. Therefore, the additional compensation measures would be limited to the truly different competences required by the destination Member States.

For more about the project, take a look at the TCC-SCV project website.

Even though the project has officially ended now, the research and work are being carried out to extend the project findings to other EU Member States to get an even better picture at the problem in the entire EU and find the right solutions.


Our calendar displays the events and meetings organised by European Boating Industry and those in which we participate, as well as most of the boat shows organised in Europe.

If you feel we should publish an event you are organising, please send us an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a short description of your event. Thank you.

Events calendar

  • November
  • January
  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • Saturday
  • Sunday

EU projects

In order to defend the interests of the European leisure marine industry as efficiently as possible, EBI take part in several european funded project.

In a European project different policy organisations, stakeholders from several countries in Europe come together for several months to collaborate, learn from each other and address policy issue of common concern.

Participating in a European project presents some undeniable perks:

  • Extend our sector network
  • Finance our research
  • Reinforce ourimage and renown toward the European sector
  • Participate in EU policies
  • ...

In “EU projects” section, you will learn all about the projects European Boating Industry participates in and consult the results.

Take a look at our current EU projects

  • Blue Generation
  • Skippers without Borders

Read the archive of our past projects

  • Boat DIGEST


Our main areas of work include:


The European boating industry is a highly internationalised sector that exports the majority of its products, both inside and outside the EU internal market. Traditionally, the boating industry has exported within the EU and to North America but it has also been increasingly trying to export to emerging markets in Asia, South America, Middle East and Russia. This is a challenging task, however, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises, which account for the majority of companies in the boating sector. European Boating Industry is working with both European companies and the European institutions to try to ease access to these emerging markets, but giving the current political climate in countries like Russia or difficulties with identifying the provisions in China, the progress here is slower than expected.

The reults of the US presidential elections in January 2017 have put on hold the free-trade negotiations with the USA called the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) which started in 2013 and of which European Boating Industry has been very supportive ofTogether with its US counterpart the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). At the time of the talks, European Boating Industry submitted with NMMA to the EU and US authorities a joint working paper in which we outlined the objectives we wish to achieve under the negotiations. Both organisations believe that TTIP could be for the boating industry a significant milestone for improving and simplifying trade conditions between the US and Europe for thousands of small and medium-sized companies in the boating industry.

European Boating Industry welocmed the trade deal with Canada (CETA) obtained last year and the recently concluded talks with Japan, although we did not demand to be included as a specific sector during the talks.

Training & Professional qualifications

Training and qualifications in the boating industry are quite fragmented across Europe. Although many national marine industry associations across the EU have developed their own national training activities, skills and qualifications are not harmonised and often not recognised in other Member States. European Boating Industry believes that the development of a European curricula for professions within the boating industry (such as boatbuilding jobs, surveyors, brokers, sailing instructors and engine maintenance) would raise the level of professionalism within the industry, attract more young people, and improve the mobility of workers through the better recognition of skills and training. For more information about training courses available in your country, please contact your national association.

Links to our members’ websites can be found on Our members page.



SOLVIT is an EU instrument used to solve cross-border disputes, typically regarding professional qualifications acquired in a Member State and which may not be automatically accepted in another Member State. Today, the EU regulates about 700 professions (mainly in the health sector) and the default rule is that EU nationals can freely practise professions that are not regulated, like skipper or diving instructor for instance. The reality and the testimonies made by professionals through years show a much more complex situation and the reluctance in certain cases of EU Member States to accept professional qualifications others than their own. Professionals facing such situations should seek assistance via the SOLVIT desk where individual cases can be submitted.

More about SOLVIT on their page.

Market surveillance in the EU

Market surveillance is conducted by national authorities and guarantees safety, environmental protection and fair competition across Europe. As of 18 January 2016, the new EU directive on watercraft 2013/53/EU applies which further strengthens the market surveillance. A dedicated page was created to provide full information on these important changes.

Take a look at our EU RCD Guide available in various languages.

Consumer Rights Directive

Recently, an evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive was made, aimed to assess whether it has achieved its objectives and whether the anticipated impacts as described in the original impact assessment accompanying the proposal for the Directive have materialised. The evaluations confirm that in general consumer law remains fit for purpose. When applied effectively, the existing rules tackle the problems that European consumers are facing today, also in online markets. However findings also point to the need to improve awareness, enforcement of the rules and redress opportunities to make the best of the existing legislation.

Read the 'Results of the Fitness Check of consumer and marketing law and of the evaluation of the Consumer Rights Directive'.

Let's remind here that the EU Directive 2011/83/EU on consumer rights entered into force in June 2014. The Directive prevents Member States from adopting less or more stringent provisions than those laid down in the Directive (with some exceptions). It applies to any contract concluded between a trader and a consumer, sets out formal requirements for distance contracts, information on the rights of withdrawal by the consumer, and the obligations of the trader and the consumer. The main provisions are: the right to withdrawal with a 14-day cooling off period; pre-contractual information; rules on delivery; and rules on repairs, replacement and guarantees. The objective was to introduce greater consistency in the consumer law across Europe and a number of countries will now have to adapt their national legislation in accordance with the directive.