Scrapping the boat? In Italy it’s a mess, in Sweden it’s free


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sweden powerboatsIn Italy, scrapping motor boats is not child’s play; in fact, it is particularly complicated. There are no true fiberglass hull dismantling services because the cost of disassembly far exceeds what the value of the recyclable material would be. The situation is actually more complicated than it may seem.

Suppose the case of a boat owner in possession of a now unusable boat. First, he is still required to pay mooring, storage and insurance costs, which depending on the size of the hull can grow to very substantial amounts during the year. The situation is paradoxical to the point that one operator told us that often the “most convenient” way is to let the boat sink, a choice that is seriously wrong in so many ways, first and foremost with regard to the marine environment.

Is anything moving on the horizon to solve this problem?

Something is moving, yes, but not Italy, where the government is “on the high seas,” to stay on topic, both with the new Telematic Registry which had been announced by the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport, Danilo Toninelli, at the Genoa Boat Show, both with the “portsissue in which a program to revitalize the landings was announced through the final resolution of the dispute over the retroactivity of the increase in state fees. Neither of these issues seems likely to have substantial solutions and developments any time soon.

Different air, however, is the air in cold Sweden. Swedish boat owners can scrap their old boats for free (until Dec. 31) this year, courtesy of the National Marine and Water Resources Management Agency (300,000 euros in subsidies).

This is no small maneuver: it appears that nearly 500 boats, weighing less than three tons, will be withdrawn from the market and scrapped this year (the only cost to be borne by the shipowners: transport to the dismantling site, managed by the company Stena Recycling). Of note is the fact that the scrapped boats will all be recycled. According to the aforementioned agency, Sweden has about 64,000 abandoned or unreliable vessels out of a total fleet of about 900,000 vessels. Only a small portion of these were demolished before the new initiative.


Time to Take Action is the slogan of Medplastic, the project of the Journal of Sailing and Powerboats to safeguard the Mediterranean. Join the MedPlastic Team Facebook group, there you can post news, projects, photodenunciations, videos. Then participate in the NO Plastic Instagram contest (by sending a photo to our instagram inbox – @giornaledellavela – or on the Medplastic Team group, as all the authors of the photos we show you here did): we will award the best testimonials at the 2019 VELAFestival. In addition, if you have structured projects to propose that you think would be useful to the “cause,” please send an email to



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