The global boat building market, currently valued at $32.6 billion, is projected to rise to $44.18 billion by 2026, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.9%. This growth is largely fueled by increasing consumer demand for fiberglass recreational boats, prompting companies like Brunswick Corporation to expand production capacities significantly.

Recreational boats account for 5-8% of global glass fibre production, marking them as a major end-use sector. However, the industry faces a significant challenge: managing the ‘end of life’ of boats. Statistics from ICOMIA suggest that in the U.S. alone, 10% of the 16.4 million recreational boats are no longer in use, with an annual increase of 2%. This issue is exacerbated by financial downturns that lead to a higher number of abandoned boats, estimating around 400,000 recreational boats becoming unwanted each year.

Looking forward, by 2050, it is estimated that 10.8 million recreational boats could end up in landfills, not accounting for commercial, law enforcement, or military vessels. From an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standpoint, the industry must tackle the disposal issue and establish responsible end-of-life boat management to prevent significant environmental impacts.

As the market continues to expand, there is a critical need for the maritime industry to unite and devise a sustainable approach to the lifecycle of boats, ensuring that the thriving market does not lead to environmental degradation. This calls for innovation, collaboration, and strict regulations to manage the disposal and recycling of boats effectively.


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