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Fibreglass recycling developments in full swing - MarineBusinessWorld Oceania newsletter

by Peter Rendle 24 Aug 15:00 PDT
At the Casper landfill (USA), at least 870 blades are piled up in 30-foot-deep holes for burial © RCA Engineering

Composite materials or polymer matrix composites, due to their mechanical and chemical properties, are a type of material in full growth in sectors such as aeronautics, automotive, naval, high-level sports equipment, construction, etc. This has caused exponential growth in the consumption of these materials where it is estimated that by the year 2030 only in the EU, we should be able to recycle more than one million tons of composite materials.

In order not to enlarge this problem, the EU is legislating to promote a circular management of the waste generated. The RCA Engineering team has designed a sustainable and circular process for the recycling and reuse of composite materials (based on glass and carbon fibre) from any sector.

In New Zealand, dedication to environmental protection is deeply ingrained in the national identity. From protecting the islands' natural beauty from invasive biohazards to programs aimed at rebuilding endangered species and ecosystems, commitment to sustainability is built into New Zealand's culture. This integration of innovation and environmental diligence is also built into New Zealand's companies and brands, particularly in the marine industry, where environmental conservation plays a pivotal role.

Marine brands like ZeroJet, with their all-electric propulsion systems, and Propspeed, with their biocide-free foul-release coatings, stand as global leaders in placing sustainability at the forefront of their business.

The marine industry is now worth $3 billion annually to the New Zealand economy, achieving around $2.2 billion in local sales, and $800 million in exports. This was among new statistics that showed the size and growth of the industry released at the recent NZ Marine industry conference by Executive Director Peter Busfield.

Other new statistics showed the number of apprentices in NZ boatbuilding and related trades has reached 650, and more than 5500 boats are expected to be built this year — the vast majority trailer boats between 3.5 and 8m.

New builds this week includes Australia's large full-custom superyacht builder Echo Yachts who have announced the launch of their latest 56m aluminium catamaran Adventure & Support Yacht 'M/Y Charley 2'. This is the largest catamaran motoryacht built in Australia and the second largest Echo Yachts superyacht created at the Echo Marine Group shipyard near Fremantle, in Western Australia.

At 56m LOA and 1041 GT volume, the new aluminium hulled Charley 2 is a significantly larger variant of its predecessor M/Y Charley (composite hulled, 50m LOA, 701GT volume, delivered in 2017).

While not exactly recycling, restoration goes a long way to extending the life of a yacht. If ever the cliché "labour of love" applied to the restoration of a vessel, then the 67-foot sailing yacht, Dreamtime takes the title. For never was a yacht, once abandoned on 'death row', so fortunate to find an admiring owner with the determination to bring her back to her beautiful best.

Designed by German Frers, 67-foot Dreamtime is an icon. Once described by boat builder, Ken Swanson as his "all-time favourite boat", Dreamtime was one of the custom orders built for Graham O'Neil in 1983. Shipwright, Iain Smith, Director at Everything Marine Australia at The Boat Works was in charge of the original restoration project, which had fallen through after the owner pulled out.

The Boating Industry Association recently met with Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) and the discussion included their interest in removing the need for boat dealers to go to a TMR service centre to register a boat to a customer by allowing registration applications to be submitted by email.

If implemented, boats sold by dealers in QLD can be registered the same day if the application is emailed prior to a predetermined cut off time. Otherwise, boat registration will be processes next business day. Registration applications received after a cut of period on Friday would be processes the following Monday. If the proposed initiative is successful, MSQ intends to explore other avenues to support the registration of boats when the dealer application is received after hours or over the weekend.

Good news from South Australia. From 1 September 2023, boaters will no longer be troubled with replacing their faded or peeling registration labels each year. The Department for Infrastructure and Transport has recently finalised an update to the Harbors and Navigation Regulations 2009 which means boat registration labels will no longer be required to be displayed on your boat.

Many of Australia's most celebrated sailors started their careers at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia's Youth Sailing Academy (YSA). On Friday 15 September, the club will proudly celebrate the YSA's 30th anniversary, by inviting members of the sailing community to a special dinner at the Club. America's Cup legend John Bertrand AO and skipper of Andoo Comanche John Winning Jnr are keynote speakers, who will entertain and inspire the room with some of their favourite sailing anecdotes.

CYCA Commodore Arthur Lane said: "Over the years, the YSA has provided scores of young girls and boys with the opportunity to either learn the basics of sailing, or to help make the successful transition from dinghies to keelboat sailing. Through its holiday camps, as well as school and community programs, the Youth Sailing Academy has nurtured them, brought families together and ignited the passion for the sport of sailing in so many individuals."

Stay safe,
Peter Rendle -

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