How To Recycle A Fiberglass Boat

Do you know how to recycle a fiberglass boat? It's a common question, with an elusive answer. There are several reasons why, the main one being that recycling fiberglass is extremely difficult, and not often done. But if you have a fiberglass boat that's definitely outlived its usefulness, though, you can still recycle it—or give it to somebody else who wants to.

You will need:

  • A fiberglass boat you'd like to be rid of
  • A telephone
  • A phone book
  • Supplies to haul the boat (trailer, truck—anything you would need to move it to water)

Recycling fiberglass boats is a difficult process, because when fiberglass is chopped up to recycle it, it tends to “cottonball” into fluff and from there on it is difficult to turn into any form that's useful for recycling. However, several kinds of organization invite donations of dead fiberglass boats, and you can find somebody to give yours away to without too much trouble.

  1. Locate an organization that wants donations of dead boats. Groups like the the Boy Scouts of America sometimes take them, and often charities request donations of vehicles such as fiberglass boats. The organizations generally refurbish the boat and use it yet again, but if it's really battered they might take it anyway—what is “too much work to fix” to you may be reasonable to them, so add them to your list of places to call. Browse the phone book and call numbers until you find a winner. You may have to call to find out if they'll take fiberglass boats in the first place.
  2. Call and tell them what size and kind of boat you have. Sometimes charities want a particular size of boat, such as “under 25 feet long”, and your boat may not be what they're looking for.
  3. Arrange a time to drop the boat off. Getting their hours of operation would be a good idea at this point, too, in case you're running early or late the day you do this.
  4. Haul the boat there, drop it off, and presto—one fiberglass boat recycled! The group you give it to will use it over again, and that's a form of recycling, even if it's not technically ripping the boat apart and making it into a new one. At the very end of their lives, fiberglass boats are chopped up and now some places are starting to make alternative products out of the difficult-to-use fluff that results, but for now, donating your fiberglass boat is the best way to recycle it. 
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