Our VISION is to position the Rhode Island Marine Industry as the leader in our community and our economy.

Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Program

RIMTA’s Fiberglass Vessel Recycling Program is pioneering sustainable solutions for the marine industry.

The proliferation of recreational fiberglass boat hulls, mass-produced since the 1960s, has led to an accumulation of vessels reaching end-of-life status in coastal communities across the United States. The increasing ‘legacy fleet’, which current estimates suggest that 2-3% of all recreational boats in the United States reach the end of their usable life each year, is approximately 200,000 boats annually. An increase in the number of unusable fiberglass boats in U.S. coastal communities could potentially increase boat abandonment, dereliction and mismanagement, as well as the number of boats that end up as marine debris. Hurricanes and natural disasters also contribute significantly to this issue of derelict boats. With few options for vessel disposal, these factors amplify the need for a sustainable method of managing boat materials and eliminating their risk of negatively impacting the marine environment. 

Traditionally, the destination for fiberglass boat hull materials has been local landfills where they consume valuable space and pose risks for soil and water contamination when they are crushed and buried. Furthermore, the rise in abandoned or derelict vessels presents pollution and navigation hazards, along with potentially high clean-up costs for local and state governments.

Given the trend for landfill closures and the historic increase in fiberglass boat manufacturing, the breadth of these impacts is likely to deepen. As we strive to expand and sustain our efforts, the program is actively seeking additional funding to continue operating and further its impact towards the sustainability of the marine industry as well as support innovative solutions for solid waste management and environmental conservation.

NOAA MARINE DEBRIS PREVENTION GRANT FOR FIBERGLASS VESSEL RECYLCING PILOT PROGRAM RECYCLING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ABANDONED, DERELICT & END-OF-LIFE RECREATIONAL VESSELS END-OF-LIFE VESSEL MATERIAL MANAGEMENT GUIDE VIDEO: 2019 RIMTA FIBERGLASS BOAT RECYCLING EFFORTS TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR FIBERGLASS RECYCLING PROGRAM, EMAIL: info@rimta.org