Around the Yacht Club bar
Red diesel, good or evil?
With Brexit ….. (fill in outcome of choice) the issue of red diesel comes alive again. Out of the EU we can choose whether to maintain it or not as we are not obliged to harmonise fuel duty rates. If we stay in, or partly in as members of a customs union or single market the EU will increase pressure on us to remove the entitlement of pleasure craft to ride on the back of a benefit intended for commercial and fishing craft. The government and the RYA has fought hard to keep red diesel because of the administrative and financial difficulties of maintaining supplies of two types of diesel at pumps in remote parts of the country. White diesel would be almost unobtainable at sensible prices outside major boating centres.
Many yachtsmen feel the EU has a point about the misuse of red diesel, including about half the members of the RYA.
Pressure is growing on yachtsmen to take more care during the spring slap-on of biocides on the bottoms of their boats. Run-off from old antifouling and spillages of new undoubtedly harm the environment when they leech into the sea. However, as a proportion of the total leech of poisons into the water from antifouling over a season the problem is comparatively minor.
Be that as it may, we should make efforts to ensure any run-off from pressure washing or sanding is retained ashore or fed into a recovery tank. On a slipway use a thick rope as a boom and sweep up antifouling dust or scrapings for safe disposal; don’t wash off more than the actual fouling if antifouling against a wall or piles; apply as little new antifouling as possible; use as low strength as possible; consider using an alternative antifouling such as Teflon, silicon, vinyl or ultrasound; dispose of brushes, trays, etc as hazardous waste.
Do you have a bright idea about disposing of old boats?
If you do, your fortune could be made because nobody else does. Yes, there are plenty of ways of destroying old boats – fire, sinking and burial have all be suggested. The problem is each solution deeply unsound environmentally or it costs too much. GRP is almost unrecyclable and it’s worse if the hull is coated in antifouling. Resin impregnated wood is also highly toxic
Areas such as the West Country are in the front line of the battle against abandoned old tore-outs because as boats lose their value they move down the food chain from the wealthy South East to the more penny conscious extremities, finally running out of value on remote moorings, up creeks and on the mud flats of the remoter parts of the East Coast and far West.
Here at the CYC we have had a taste of the problem and know how much it can cost to dispose of an unwanted wreck.