Boat building industry 'hasn't got its act together' over fibreglass

One of the region’s biggest boat builders says the industry “hasn’t got its act together” over what to do with fibreglass when it comes to the end of its life.

Fibreglass revolutionised boat building by making it more affordable, but it can’t be recycled and there could be environmental and health concerns when it’s broken down.

Fairline Yachts based at Oundle in Northamptonshire has been using fibreglass to build boats since the 1960s.

David Tydeman, from Fairline Yachts, said: “The industry has not got its act together yet.

"The boats that we first started maybe 50 years ago, they were fairly overbuilt. The industry’s getting better, more precise, producing better weight control, but what to do with the very strongly built boats of 50 years ago, we haven’t yet got a solution.”

Richardson's are the largest boating operator on the Broads. Greg Munford said more research was needed into new types of fibreglass.

“I’m sure there’s going to be technological developments that allows some form of fibre reinforced boats,” he said.

“You know, hopefully they’ll be some more work on more environmentally friendly resins.”

  • Click below for Jonathan Wills' report

Sandy Martin, the MP for Ipswich and Shadow Minister for Waste Management, said the problem of what to do with fibreglass was one that needed to be addressed. As well as boats coming to the end of their lives, it's also an issue for the wind farm industry.

  • Click below for Jonathan and Becky's interview with Sandy Martin MP

A fibreglass boat being built. Credit: ITV News Anglia
Fibreglass made boat building more affordable. Credit: ITV News Anglia
Richardson's are the largest boat operator on the Broads. Credit: ITV News Anglia