Abandoned boats are latest Dutch environmental problem

Some 25,000 abandoned boats are scattered around the Netherlands’ harbours and marinas, and could cause a major environmental problem, according to the Dutch yacht builders’ association.

In many cases, the owners can’t be traced or they can’t afford to have the boats towed away and destroyed, Gerwin Klok told Nos television on Friday.

Tens of thousands of pleasure boats were built in the 1970s and are now nearing the end of their life, Nos says in its report. Most have been for sale for years but no-one wants to buy them and they are worth so little there is no point in doing them up.


‘It is pretty serious and it will only get worse,’ Jos Walther of the Nieuwe Diep water sports association near Amsterdam said. ‘People have hardly any money and if they die, the boats are here for years.’

The boat builders want the government to establish a fund, paid for by government and the industry, which will pay for the destruction of the abandoned boats and recycle the plastics and metal.

The country’s only boat wreckers yard, Het Harpje in Bovenkarspel, is currently breaking up three to six boats a week and cannot keep up with the demand.

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