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Recycling yachts ‘in the eye of the beholder’

The Netherlands – ‘Yacht recycling needs to pick up its pace,’ argued Pierre Barbleu, manager of France’s APER network for end-of-life recreational craft at the recent Yacht Recycling congress in Amsterdam. ‘At the moment, let’s say we sell 10 boats per every one boat dismantled. That’s a start – but we have a lot of catching up to do,’ he told delegates.

France, which accounts for 12% of the world fibreglass industry, succeeded in more than 400 last year. ‘Our research shows that 80% of the country’s boats were built before 2000 while 56% were built before 1990,’ Barbleu commented. Smaller local operations are able to ‘thrive’ in France because of low transport costs. ‘These are typically 30% of the dismantler’s total costs,’ Barbleu noted. ‘So you see it helps to be close to the source of the problem.’

Old boat or new gem?

‘At the end of the day, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder,’ said Neil Chapman, owner of yacht broker Boatshed. ‘It is the same when we ask the question ”When can a yacht be considered waste?” For someone out there, your old boat might be a real gem – a low-entry opportunity to take the first step on board.’

Fact is that moorings in the Netherlands, Denmark as well as the UK continue to be overbooked. Stubbornness and pride are often the reasons why yachts will ‘languish for ages’ in the same old spot. ‘Consumers can be proud,’ Chapman added. ‘They don’t want to give up.’

Read the full story in the December 2015 issue.

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