New Report: Recycling Opportunities for Abandoned, Derelict, and End-of-Life Recreational Vessels

Posted Wed, 02/08/2023 - 11:00

Cover of the Recycling Opportunities for Abandoned, Derelict, and End-of-Life Recreational Vessels report.The NOAA Marine Debris Program is pleased to share a report on Recycling Opportunities for Abandoned, Derelict, and End-of-Life Recreational Vessels. Section 136 of the Save Our Seas 2.0 Act (P.L. 116-224) required a study to determine the feasibility of developing a nationwide vessel recycling program, using a pilot project in Rhode Island as a model. The report was created by the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) Foundation, in partnership with the NOAA Marine Debris Program and National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, in order to summarize that study.

Abandoned and derelict vessels litter ports, waterways, and estuaries around the country, posing a threat to people and the environment. Vessels become abandoned and derelict for many reasons: owners may no longer be able to afford maintenance, they may break loose from anchors or moorings and drift away, and some may even be stolen. Severe weather events, like hurricanes or flooding, can also cause vessels to sink at moorings, become submerged in tidal areas, or strand on shorelines, marshes, or reefs. Boat owners may also struggle to responsibly dispose of vessels that are too old to continue using.

Through a grant from the NOAA Marine Debris Program, the RIMTA Foundation explored the reuse of fiberglass material used to build recreational vessels. Fiberglass can both displace fossil fuels and replace raw resources, such as silica and alumina, in cement production. Through the development of a diverse partnership network, the RIMTA Foundation collected, tested, processed, and delivered 22 tons of fiberglass materials collected in coastal New England from a variety of abandoned, derelict, and end-of-life vessels for reuse by a cement manufacturing facility.

Following the conclusion of this project, with additional funding provided by the NOAA Marine Debris Program in partnership with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, the RIMTA Foundation examined the potential to build a nationwide vessel recycling program. Its findings are documented in this report, which found that a centralized, nationwide fiberglass vessel recycling program would present a viable solution for the responsible disposal of abandoned, derelict, and end-of-life vessels. However, the logistics for breakdown, storage, transportation, and co-processing of recovered fiberglass are complex, and further investigation, development, and collaboration is recommended.

To learn more about the challenges and opportunities of recycling fiberglass vessels, view the full report.

New Report: Recycling Opportunities for Abandoned, Derelict, and End-of-Life Recreational Vessels

Posted Wed, 02/08/2023 - 11:00

For citation purposes, unless otherwise noted, this article was authored by the NOAA Marine Debris Program.

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Ronnie K. Eaton

Thu, 03/02/2023 - 13:03

...Developing the recovery process of recycled fiberglass seems like a great opportunity to create good jobs in areas of the country where coal and fossil fuel jobs have been lost. I am hopeful funding will be found to continue this research and result in new programs for recycling and removal of abandoned boats.
...Mr Eaton Howard L Hall owner of the Beachcomber dry dock and repair. Has shut down he boat yard for retirement. I'm a long time friend of Mr.Hall (aka) Caboose. I have been recycling boats on the yard that have been abandon by there owners that he cloud not sale. The 40 ton travel lift has been keep up a long with a 790 John Deere track hoe. We are located at Dog River on mobile bay AL. I would like to find out more info on the fiber glass disposal and concrete .there is a large concrete facility less than a mile from the boat yard.. I'm not looking to do boat repair.but a few 30 yard Dumpsters for the metals .with a little effort this could be made into a disposal site. To recycle boats . Ross Thrower

John D. Adams

Fri, 03/03/2023 - 10:59

...Old & derelict fiberglass boats are becoming and will be a future disposal problem. I love the idea NOAA had in collaboration with the cement industry. Please continue progress searching for a solution for disposal of all the fiberglass boats to come. Also, start with research through fiberglass industry & University research in developing a product that can be recycled after it is past its prime usage.

John D. Adams

Fri, 03/03/2023 - 11:38

...teaming up with the car recycling industry may be an option. Every city already has car junk yards where they salvage parts, have environmental procedures for oils & fuels, have car crushers ( could add fiberglass shredders) and a nation wide transport system for recycled cars ( add fiberglass). They have the infrastructure & people!


Mon, 03/27/2023 - 00:02



Thu, 06/01/2023 - 14:36

...Recycling opportunities for pier and dock treated planks into "distressed/hurricane wood" fences could be promoted by fence and lumber companies as free materials for fencing. The fence/lumber company would have to store the sudden inventory and then could charge for building fencing with the free hurricane wood. There are three such fences in my town of Wilmington, NC.