Decommissioning of End of Life Boats

A Status Report – revised Dec 2007

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Since fibre reinforced polymers (FRP) became available for commercial application in the 1950s, the market for and the production of recreational craft constructed from FRP have grown at an impressive rate. Although statistics are far from complete, it is estimated that within the EU only, there are about 6,0 million recreational craft and that some 32 million people participate in leisure boating per annum. The market continues to expand, and within the EU an average growth rate of between 5% and 6% is to be anticipated in the years to come. In the USA the estimated number of recreational craft is some 16,4 million, and the Australian figure is about 750.000. If the common ratio of user to boats is the same in Australia and the US as in Europe, the number of people participating in boating in these areas probably exceeds 125 million. Although a number of vessels are constructed from traditional materials like metal and wood, FRP has been totally dominant in the mass market during the last decades. Recreational craft do not last for ever. However, much dependent on size, type and usage, vessels constructed from FRP may last for 50 years or more. During their lives boats may change owners several times, and it is not unusual that boat owners want to dispose of smaller boats simply because of changing interest, habits and family situation. Nevertheless, even when properly maintained, materials and equipment tend to deteriorate with use and exposure to the marine environment. Even the best constructed craft will some day have to end its life.

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