Circular Economy

In November 2016, the European Commission published its study on the Nautical Tourism, with the contributions and support of EBI. End-of-life boats are mentioned 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-life' each year. However, not all of these are dismantled.

For the full study: Assessment of the impact of business development improvements around nautical tourism


Boat DIGEST dismantling map

On 23 September 2015, EBI 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 four 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 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.euYou can also the 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 EBI, 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.


End-of-life Working Group with the European Commission

EBI and the European Commission Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs (DG MARE) jointly lead a Working Group on end-of-life boats. The aim of the collaboration is to develop an EU roadmap that EU countries can follow to set up their own dismantling systems. It has a wide approach tackling all relevant issues, as well as involving stakeholders and national authorities. Stakeholders currently involved are the European Boating Association (EBA), the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA), the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA) and other associations representing end-users of composites.


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 end-of-life boats: 80 000 units

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