A wide variety of EU environmental legislation applies to the boating industry and its users. From industrial emissions to the protection of biodiversity, recycling, waste disposal, restrictions on chemicals used in the building process and water quality, all environmental legislation needs to be assessed to determine the appropriate measures to be taken during the manufacturing process, navigation and eventual disposal of the boat at its end-of-life.
Recreational boating is sometimes considered a major source of pollution to the marine environment due to its high visibility on lakes and along the coast. This is far from the case, however, as boating actually accounts for less than 1% of overall pollution affecting the marine environment (compared to almost 80% originating from land-based activities). In fact, boating is dependent on good environmental quality for the enjoyment of participants and many national boating industry associations across Europe have adopted voluntary programmes with practical measures to prevent pollution and protect the environment.
To find out more about the environmental impact of boating, take a look at the European Confederation of Nautical Industries’ 2009 study, ‘Nautical Activities: What impact on the environment?’ http://euboating.webdev.mk/images/Members_Documents/0906ecnienvironmentalreporten.pdf The study is also available in French http://euboating.webdev.mk/images/Members_Documents/0906ecnienvironmentalreportfr.pdf
The average lifespan of recreational craft is 30 years. Although a 2011 study http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/ships/pdf/Final_report_ver03_09_12_2011.pdf by the European Commission on the recovery of obsolete vessels has shown that end-of-life boats are not a major cross-border environmental issue, they can nevertheless cause problems by taking up vital spaces in marinas or being dumped illegally on shore.
Between 2013-2015 European Boating Industry participated in an EU-funded project Boat DIGEST, which addressed the issue of end-of-life boats, dismantling and recycling.
On 23 September, European Boating Industry hosted the final Boat DIGEST conference in Brussels, which presented the general overview on the end-of-life boats (ELB) and the main project outcomes. While challenges are still remaining, especially when it comes to financing models of dismantling ELBs, the Boat DIGEST project gave more visibility to the work carried out in Belgium, France, Italy, Spain, Turkey and UK (consortium of 9 partners from these countries). As the inititative's main activities have been to identify boat dismantling locations and practices in those countries in order to understand the common problems, accidents and hazards that can be encountered in Europe.
After studying key issues relevant to recreational craft owners related to ELBs and analysing training needs for dismantlers in the past months, Boat DIGEST has come up with four sets of "Guidelines" targeted to marinas, associations, schools, repair and refit companies. The "Guidelines" (available in English, French, Italian, Spanish and Turkish) target various audiences: boaters and nautical associations, marinas and leisure harbours, repair & refit companies, and boating schools. They also offer information on the actions that can be taken by these four groups and the role they play in raising boat owners’ awareness about the issue. They can be freely distributed to all interested parties, as long as they are not modified in their current format.
Boat DIGEST also developed an online and free of charge training course for the professional staff working at waste management facilities and having to treat boats. The training contains 4 units covering administrative, financial and practical issues. An online test verifies the dismantlers' knowledge and if over 70% of answers are correct, a certificate is issued by University of Strathclyde (Glasgow, Scotland), one of the project partners. Another useful outcome is the regularly updated dismantling network map which helps identify and locate professional dismantling sites in Europe.
The above-mentioned and other tools, such as an awareness raising module for users, educational videos or posters are all accessible via www.boatdigest.eu
It is worth adding that even though the Boat DIGEST project formally ends now, the website will continue to run for at least 5 years, after the project has been finalised, so all the materials will remain available there. Moreover, if you are a boat owner or dismantler, you can still contribute to the e-pilot exercise by going to the website and choosing "Training modules" in the top right corner.
Paris Nautic 2015
On 8 December 2015, the conference “Boat’s end-of-life, truly the end?” was held at the Nautic – Paris International Boat Show - jointly organised by European Boating Industry, the French federation FIN and Reed Exposition. The event gathered a large audience made of exhibitors, companies, visitors and public authorities eager to learn more about the current approaches to boat dismantling across the world and discuss how to make this activity viable in the long term.
2. CO2 emissions from ships
On 28 June 2013, the European Commission set out a strategy for integrating maritime emissions into the EU’s policy for reducing its domestic greenhouse gas emissions. It also adopted a proposal for an “MRV – Monitoring, Reporting and Verification” Regulation. Agreement was reached between the European Parliament and the Council, and the regulation was published in the EU Official Journal on 1 July 2015. The main points relevant to the boating industry are the scope (encompassing vessels from 5,000 GT up) and the focus on CO2 emissions.
The deal between the EU institutions resulted in maintaining in the legislation the changes that European Boating Industry had proposed and supported. Namely, it means that ship operators will only have to report on the carbon dioxide emissions (CO2), with other greenhouse gases such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) not being included in the legislation. The requirements are also limited to the biggest emitters, i.e. all vessels over 5,000 gross tons on voyages to, from and between EU ports. Fishing vessels, warships, naval auxiliaries, wooden ships of a primitive build, ships not propelled by mechanical means and government ships used for non-commercial purposes will be excluded. It means that megayachts of 5,000 GT and more will be included. These are estimated to be around 20-25 vessels worldwide.
In parallel, discussions are taking place at international level in the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). A provision in the EU Regulation allows it to be reviewed in the context of future international developments, in particular in case of the introduction of a global monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) system through the IMO. European Boating Industry was involved on this file since leisure vessels fall under scope of this new Regulation.
Adopted in 2000, the Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC establishes an integrated, ecosystem-based approach to the protection of water. It applies to all water bodies, including rivers, estuaries, coastal waters, canals and docks, and aimed to achieve good chemical and ecological status of European waters by 2015.
In a similar vein, the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2008/56/EC aims to achieve good environmental status of marine waters in Europe by 2020, whilst also trying to maximize the economic potential of the seas and oceans. The Directive was adopted in 2008 and the areas of interest for the boating industry include marine litter, underwater noise, non-indigenous species introduced by human activities, biodiversity, and human-induced eutrophication.
European Boating Industry is a member of PIANC’s Navigation Task Group on Water Framework Directive & Marine Strategy Directive. The Navigation Task Group is a thematic cluster of 14 organisations representing a wide variety of commercial and recreational, maritime and inland navigation interests. To find out more, please visit: www.pianc.org/euwfd.asp
Natura 2000 is a network of nature protection areas, which lies at the heart of the Habitats and Birds Directives. Natura 2000 sites are designated to ensure the survival of Europe’s most valuable and threatened species and habitats and currently cover approximately 20% of Europe’s land area and surrounding seas. Whilst human activities are not completely excluded from Natura 2000 sites, activities are limited to ensure the sustainable use of the area and to safeguard biodiversity. Natura 2000 also covers the marine environment. The development of the Natura 2000 network and its marine component is of interest to the boating industry due to the potential impact on water based recreational activities and navigation.